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* Posts by Mephistro

1043 posts • joined 8 Oct 2007

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

Mephistro
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Re: I find this report...

I think -I'm no expert either- that a signal able to cover -even intermitently- the original signal would play havoc with missiles guidance systems that rely on GPS, and with all the military kit that uses GPS. And each of these 'impersonator satellites' could be able to impersonate several GPS satellites simultaneously.

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Mephistro
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Re: I wonder if theX-37B story is related to this one?

Yes, 'rods from God' were my third option.

But I don't think it would make much sense with the current situation with ISIS.

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Mephistro
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I find this report...

...specious.

***rimshot***

And my bets on what they were testing is that they're trying new ways to eavesdrop satellites data traffic. Another candidate would be a device for impersonating a GLONASS (or any other GPS satellite) satellite or disabling it, something that could be very handy in certain scenarios.

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FACEPALM! HP cert used to sign malware

Mephistro
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Devil

The malware is set to phone home, which is what led to its detection.

Yep, HP detected the malware when it phoned them!

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Jonny Ive: Flattered by rivals' designs? Nah, its 'theft'

Mephistro
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Re: I also watched this popular TV programme in the 1970's

Upvoted, but Kubrick and Clarke were there before.

Anecdotically, they also described a device with all the functionalities of a smartphone in "The lost worlds of 2001". From memory, a small device that was a (wireless) phone, a camera with flash and video, and a computer with messaging at the same time, and that was used by 'people' in an alien crowd to record the arrival of their first human visitors.

I've commented on this 'smartphone' several times at several forums. This is because I still find difficult to believe the extreme precision with which they forecasted a technology that was ~35 years in their future. Kudos to them.

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Slap for SnapChat web app in SNAP mishap: '200,000' snaps sapped

Mephistro
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Divide by Zero

And you'll get the number of years until the general public gets a clue that everything you post online has a good chance of being made public and bite you in the ass years after the fact, no matter what some corporate mountebank tells you.

It's also about the same time it will take the governments to stop private companies from scamming the public non stop.*

Of special relevance is the fact that the people whose privacy has been compromised weren't the ones who used a dodgy app/gave their passwords to a third party/had their device haxxored/did some terribly stupid thing, but the ones who sent their snapshits to them.

I'm always trying to explain this to my clients, family and friends, but 90% listen attentively to my short, informative and not boring at all sermons (;-), they nod, and make encouraging noises and thank me profusely. One month later they're opening executable files that a friend sent them over email, giving their email addresses and passwords to any page that asks nicely, sending texts and images they wouldn't like to see printed in their obituaries, visiting webpages that require that you disable some of your security settings to have the privilege to see some cheap porn, and in general, doing really really stupid things.

Mark my words: Internet will be the end of Mankind!**

Note*: And I don't mean sending some spammer or scammer to the slammer (he!) twice a year so the public sees said governments as 'doing something about the problem'. I mean, as an example, preventing the telcos from profiting from scams or requiring a copy of a contract signed physically by the customer before allowing him/her to be charged for 'premium services' ~='scams'.

Note**: hopefully "...as we know it." ;-)

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Hey, non-US websites – FBI don't have to show you any stinkin' warrant

Mephistro
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So why bother to send a letter of request to a foreign country...

... when you can just hack the foreign servers?

I'm hoping the Icelandic judiciary will take issue with this act by the FBI and consider the organization as a whole guilty of a serious crime.

And to the USA as a whole: It makes sense to treat your allies the same way you would treat North Korea in a similar case. NOT.

Disclaimer: I reckon this Ulbricht guy to be a piece of scum, but if the feds and other TLAs are allowed to use these tactics against 'true criminals', what exactly stops them to use said tactics against the rest of the population, criminals and innocents alike?

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Want the EU to work on making cloud snoop-proof? Speak up, my good 'stakeholder'

Mephistro
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Re: @ Destroy All Monsters (was Just a few suggestions (@ AC))

"What? So if a friend over the pond wants to let me view their photos on the cloud I can't because my ISP says so?"

It wouldn't be the ISPs who say so, but the local laws. You and your friend would need to use a cloud service that respects the laws both sides of the pond. Or just email the photographs.

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Mephistro
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@ Destroy All Monsters (was Re: Just a few suggestions (@ AC))

"There just will be less "cloud services" and those that exist will either be abroad (what's that? want to tell people to not use them? good luck to you, sir)"

No need to tell people not to use them. Filtering these services at ISPs level would be more than enough.

"or the persons in charge will just make sure people very near the Hubs Of Power have their back in case unfortunate questions arise"

That's business as usual for other big companies. There are solutions to this problem, but, alas, TPTB don't seem too interested in applying them.

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Mephistro
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Re: Just a few suggestions (@ AC)

"not heavy enough on the carrot."

The carrot is the right to sell cloud services in Europe, and it's a huge carrot, in my opinion.

And I agree that public discussion is important, but based on previous experiences in similar matters, such discussion groups will be infiltrated, controlled and corrupted by industry moles, grass roots movements and the whatnot, in a similar way to what's now happening with net neutrality. Following this route, we may end up with yet another of those 'industry self regulating authorities' which, in my humble opinion, are just an institutionalized scam.

"...it is time to apply existing laws against fraud, impersonation, abuse of power"

Many of those existing laws can't do anything about cloud companies. Sometimes said companies are based in countries whose laws allow them to do whatever they -or their governments- please with customers data. Sometimes the companies have awful security and current laws will punish them only with a slap on the wrist. The lack of defined roles in these companies -something that could be so 'by design'- makes impossible to identify the persons responsible for security breaches.

We need to lay some some legal foundations now. The longer we wait, the more difficult the task will become.

Of course, it'd be better to do it right from the start, but if this is not the case, having an EU working group charged with finding errors and loopholes in these new cloud laws and proposing changes to said laws where necessary doesn't sound too difficult, does it?

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Mephistro
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Just a few suggestions

- Make end to end encryption mandatory for cloud providers that sell their product in Europe.

- Create a legal framework defining the duties of cloud providers on security and data control, including a set of employees roles and the degree of responsibility for each role. Make the companies send to 'the authorities' a list of the people responsible for each of these roles and keep the list always current, so if/when a security breach happens, it's far easier to pinpoint the suspects.

- Create laws to fine -heavily- any cloud provider found in breach of the conditions listed above, and also to make them liable for the consequences of any data breach.

- Make mandatory for cloud providers selling their services in the EU to accept 'surprise inspections' from EU authorities to test the compliance with the above norms, and do lots of these surprise inspections.

- Make laws that allow the EU either to close a local cloud provider or prevent access from Europe to foreign cloud providers found repeatedly in serious breach of the conditions named above. Oh, and put a mandatory clause of cloud contracts that the cloud company is responsible for the monetary damages caused to final customers by this.

- And apply the laws that are already in place and prevent any government to request data from 'the cloud' without a warrant, signed by a judge (a true one, not one in some 'secret court'), with probable cause and all that stuff.

Difficult, but not impossible, I'd say.

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Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base

Mephistro
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Re: Legal Blackhole (@ davemcwish)

"Crucial word here is 'except'"

Sorry to disagree, but I think the crucial words are 'reasonably necessary'. Most of the data the program is sending home is not by any means "reasonably necessary to perform the Services". I hope someone -hopefully the EU- throws the book at them.

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Why US Feds and g-men kick up a stink about a growing smartphone encryption trend

Mephistro
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Americans are lucky!

Because they haven't any corrupt cop that could abuse the system for criminal purposes or for the sake of third parties. In the rest of the world this would probably cause a bloodbath, but not in the good ole USA!.

</sarcasm>

Now, seriously, if cops and FBI want to be able to keep a working witness protection program, they'd better forget about all this surveillance malarkey. And imagine what these tools they're requesting can do in the contexts of industrial espionage, blackmail, kidnappings... if there's a single 'rotten apple' in their staff.

It's has to be either utter stupidity verging on madness, or a plot by the Illuminatti.

Yes, you guessed it, I don't believe in the Illuminatti. :-)

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What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!

Mephistro
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Coffee/keyboard

"like some fucked-up business edition of Riven."

ROFLMAO++

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

Mephistro
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Re: Mistakes?

Circa 1995, I was working for two years with OS/2 Warp as my desktop OS. It could run circles around Windows 3.11 and NT, and even around Windows 95, which appeared later. The difference in stability and performance was spectacular. OS/2 was also far easier to manage and configure -in my opinion- than any of the other three OSs I listed.

OS/2 Warp was a really good product. S.T.T.B.

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Apple tool: Buying an iPhone in a carpark? Find out if it's STOLEN

Mephistro
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Re: Interesting...

When dealing with a telco's enterprise customer support, a little bit of social engineering can do miracles. As an example, I've seen very often the CSRs bypassing the proper identification process to speed up things, especially when put under pressure from the (purported) customer.

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Mephistro
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Interesting...

In a near future, we can expect to see some disgruntled IT worker obtaining most of the IMEIs of his employer's company's phones and reporting them as stolen.

In a near future? Whom I'm kidding? It probably has happened already!

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SLOSH! Cops dethrone suspect - by tipping over portaloo with him inside

Mephistro
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Re: Why (Because you are Arnaut the ignorant)

"And what - to your mind - constitutes a far left news outlet?"

Having read several of his comments. my bet is that he will name, amongst others, the Signal Magazine.

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Ingredient found in TASTY BEER is GOOD for your BRAIN

Mephistro
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So it was true!!!

It was the rats the ones that stole my coat and wallet in that brewery!!!

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Apple blacklists tech journo following explicit BENDY iPhone vid

Mephistro
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On the subject of companies blacklisting journalists and newspapers...

1- Blacklisting + presents, test units, invitations and such are just a bait&switch strategy for corrupting the press. They could as well cut all the theatre and give friendly journalists a check every month, and have an agreement with some group of thugs to have said thugs capping unfriendly journos knees.

2- El Reg should consider their blacklisting as a kind of honor badge or decoration, that proves that they're able to stick to their guns when defending their right to inform the public.

3- A good part of the public, though- alas-, not a majority, can tell the difference between a news article and some PR bullshit container. That part of the public includes probably most of my fellow commentards, 'cause if you have survived for some time working in/with IT, you probably can detect bullshit from miles away in a dark and foggy night. ;-)

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SPECIAL iPHONE TROUSERS will ease Apple into the fashion world

Mephistro
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Re: Incompatability

"In the wrong company, however, it might get you shot."

I'd rather run the risk of being shot than having to wear baggy pants, a handbag or a sporran. Luckily, there are other options, like, say, not having a phone the size of an ironing board. ;-)

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WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Mephistro
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Re: Entrapment???(@ Destroy All Monsters)

"Entrapment : the action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it" (Merriam Webster 11th Edition)

"...entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit." (Wikipedia)

Mmhhh, let me check... Crime? No... Law enforcement agency? No.

I stick to my opinion, i.e., this is no entrapment, at least in the legal sense of the word. It sounds more like a trap as in "Wyle E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner". ;-)

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Mephistro
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Re: Entrapment??? (@ Steven Jones)

"Is to why quote an example in criminal law, as Andrew did, the justification would appear to be..."

And that was -sort of- the point in my first comment. The other -non legal- meanings of 'entrapment' don't have anything to do with the issue at hand, in my opinion.

On a side note, your comment appeared in the thread just after I answered Destroy All Monsters comment. Don't you love moderated threads? :-)

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Mephistro
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Entrapment???

What has this to do with entrapment?

The Mirror is not, to the best of my knowledge, a law enforcement agency, and sending a picture of your family's jewels to someone who has requested it is not a crime, except possibly in places like Iran, Yemen and Texas.

And yes, this junior MP is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

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Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

Mephistro
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Windows Odd

'Cause, as any fule knows, the odd Windows releases are the good ones. ;-)

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FBI boss: Apple's iPhone, iPad encryption puts people 'ABOVE THE LAW'

Mephistro
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'Well how come you can't save this kid,'

Because you're not a god, Mr. Comey, and because History has proved time and time again that governments and law enforcement with too much unbridled power always end up causing many more deaths and suffering than any terrorist group.

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My TIGHT PANTS made my HUGE iPHONE go all BENDY!

Mephistro
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Happy

And this is how...

...sporrans became fashionable worldwide.

"I don't want to live on this planet anymore!"

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Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone

Mephistro
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Re: Constitution (@ Phil Dude)

"I see the random downvoter is back."

"Random downvoter"? That was brylliant! ;-)

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Big Data's being held back by little talent, says Huawei head techie

Mephistro
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Big data's being held back by...

...the structure of reality, including -but not limited to- Chaos Theory and Information Theory. Both the complexity of the analysis required and the amount of noise grow exponentially with the size and complexity of the datasets.

Snake oil, indeed. It all probably began with some suit's wet dream of getting rid of 'experts'.

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'Broken code' costs Yelp half a mil in child privacy dust-up with FTC

Mephistro
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Dura lex sed lex...

... so, from the amount agreed in this settlement, it's clear this has nothing to do with "lex".

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Credit card cutting flaw could have killed EVERY AD on Twitter

Mephistro
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$2,800???

And it's the biggest prize to date??? How many security specialists/hackers have discovered similar flaws and decided to keep them secret, because either they consider these amounts a pittance and an insult, or they reckon they'll be able to gain much more by selling these flaws to the highest bidder or exploiting the flaws themselves?

Twitter are a bunch of cheapskates -like most other companies with similar bug hunting programs- and this will bite them in the ass sooner than later.

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Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts

Mephistro
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@ AlBailey

"It's not so far back in the past that mechanical wristwatches needed to be wound up every night..."

Yes, but those watches vanished almost overnight when better options (batteries, self winding up,...) were made available. Having to recharge your watch every night is a big step backwards, imo.

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BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

Mephistro
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Devil

(if you have Silverlight installed, you can have a look here)

Or better yet, remove Silverlight!

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Verizon hit with $7.4 MEEELLION fine for slurping users' privates

Mephistro
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Whoa, what a fine!!!

The fuckers probably sold the data for dozens of times the amount fined. The customers data is out there and said customers will keep receiving spam related to this for decades. The bureaucrats responsible for this ridiculous settlement should be hanged from a beam!!!.

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Cave scrawls prove Neanderthals were AT LEAST as talented as modern artists

Mephistro
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"pre-human ape-men"

This description of the Neanderthals was fashionable until the nineteen fifties. Nowadays, most anthropologists reckon the Neanderthals to be our equals, intellectually speaking. If they were still alive today, we'd probably classify them as just another human race (whatever that means).

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Alienware injects EVEN MORE ALIEN into redesigned Area-51 gaming PC

Mephistro
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Re: Slanted hard disk bays???

Thanks for your answer. I thought that the structures to the left of the box - just behind the front panel - were HD housings, but I'm not sure of that and I wasn't able to find other images displaying the HDs.

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Mephistro
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WTF?

Slanted hard disk bays???

Read some time ago -in the time of RLL HDDs - that this kind of design would cause more wear and mechanical problems in the HDDs. It would seem that Alienware is sacrificing durability in exchange for prettiness.

Is this really a good idea? Or is this beast using only SSDs? Inquiring minds want to know...

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Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case

Mephistro
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Devil

Obligatory reference:

“Do you know the one about the chap applying for a job in the Foreign Office? ‘Look here, Carruthers’ they say, ‘we like the cut of your jib, but we can’t overlook the fact that you’ve done a spot of time for buggery, arson and rape. . . .’

‘Perfectly simple explanation,’ says Carruthers. ‘Loved a girl who wouldn’t let me diddle her, so I banged her on the head, raped her, shafted her old dad and set fire to the house.’

‘Okay, Carruthers,’ say the selector chaps. ‘We knew there’d be a reasonable explanation. Here’sthe deal. Keep away from the girls in the typing pool, no playing with matches, give us a kiss and you

can have the job.’”

From "The Night Manager" by John Le Carré

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Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids

Mephistro
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Re: Just the tip of the iceberg

"How many are yet to be discovered?"

At most, the remaining quarter of Koreans ;-)

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Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

Mephistro
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On the matter of 'camp coffee'

When I was a young lad and went camping with the family, the traditional way of making coffee in the bush was something like this:

- Put a pot with water over the camp fire and wait till the water begins to boil. Retire from the fire and wait for ~three minutes.

- Put 1 spoon of ground coffee per cup inside a CLEAN (this part is important ;-) cotton sock, close with a knot and put the sock into the hot water for another three minutes.

- Apply gentle pressure to the sock using a spoon, so as to help the coffee free more of its essence.

- Pour, add sugar and/or milk and enjoy.

The grown ups always would compliment the quality of the beverage made this way, but as they usually drank the thing mixed with whisky or orujo and I wasn't allowed back then to drink coffee, I never was too confident of the method until I was a few years older and was allowed to drink it. Yep, it was good.

Nowadays, I manage with one of those 'moka' machines and an 'espresso' machine for 'important occasions'. I like Nespresso coffee, but the costs per cup are a rip-off.

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What a pain in the mass! Euro craft Rosetta to poke its probe in 10-BILLION-tonne comet

Mephistro
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Pint

Re: when giving figures like this

"The linked ESA blog entry noted that it was “1×10^13 kg” — i.e. 10 Pg = 10 Gt = 10 billion (short scale) tonnes."

He he, you got me there. That's a secondary effect of posting at ~5 a.m. and under the influence of insomnia.

Anyway, I think that this somehow strengthens my point, i.e. that the use of the word billion in some contexts, without an indication of which scale is being used, is quite confusing. The use of derived S.I. units instead of the base ones (tonnes instead of kilograms) only worsens the problem.

Anyway, this one is on me ;-).

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Mephistro
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Re: Mephistro (@ Mike Belll & Diodesign)

"Billion is always 1,000 million."

Not for about a third of the Earth's population, including some English speaking countries. From the relevant Wikipedia article: "However, in most of these (English speaking) countries, some limited long scale use persists and the official status of the short scale use is not clear."

I'm only asking for more clarity in the articles. If you don't want to specify which scale is being used, then at least use exponential notation or write the whole number. Not a great deal, is it?

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Mephistro
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Re: when giving figures like this

"...set of standard SI prefixes which one could use to unambiguously specify..."

True, but:

a) Readers need to perform some mental arithmetic. Some will, some won't.

b) It's only useful for SI measures. Talking about, e.g., 'tera-dollars' or even worse, 'tera-times' sounds freakish, at least to me.

c) The article used 'billions' without indication of which scale was being used.

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Mephistro
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"...a mass of 10 billion tonnes..."

It would be nice for Elreg to specify whether they're using 'Short Scale' or 'Long Scale' when giving figures like this, or alternatively use always the same one. (In this last case, my vote goes for Long Scale).

This time they are using Long Scale, i.e 10 billions = 10^13.

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Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

Mephistro
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Re: Rising spectre

"Was ectoplasm involved?"

"Or was it wind"

Both things, sometimes simultaneously. The horror! The horror!!!

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Mephistro
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Angel

"Ghosts are also a hot topic for Brits, with Rossendale Council answering questions on how many times it had paid for an exorcist, psychic or religious healer ..."

You all may scoff at this, but it's a real problem!. I personally have been haunted by a ghostly apparition every morning since I was twelve. Watching your bed sheet elevating by itself when you aren't yet totally awake is a distressing experience!

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Mephistro
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Re: Is it a false economy (@Tom 7)

Related anecdote: in my first job, shortly after V.A.T. was introduced in my country, I had to explain the accountant honcho how to calculate the original price from the price+V.A.T., because he was doing it consistently wrong. Didn't get much sympathy from him either. :-)

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Mephistro
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Another day...

... another cloud SNAFU.

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Anonymous threatens to name cop who shot dead unarmed Michael Brown

Mephistro
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"Because vigilantes are never wrong..."

Vigilantes usually sprout in areas where there is no justice. Not saying that that's a good thing, just that that's the way things are.

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Whoops, my cloud's just gone titsup. Now what?

Mephistro
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"then that would be 525600 minutes"

I think the author meant a 99.99 percent or 9,999 per 10,000. Agreed with the rest of your post, though.

I'd also like to call fellow's commentards attention to the fact that the cloud provider is not the only possible source of downtime for the customer. Screw ups by the telcos probably will cause localized outages more often than the cloud provider does.

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