* Posts by Remy Redert

333 posts • joined 2 Mar 2007

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Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account

Remy Redert

This is pretty much what I did when I had a dispute with Steam. Purchased a game, found it was utterly and completely broken and unplayable, contacted their support to get my money back. They of course refused, so I contacted my bank to get my money back.

Steam blocked the account, I threatened to sue for the value of everything on the account, plus costs and damages. A few days later the account was unblocked and the offending game and related charges were gone.

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Microsoft RE-BORKS Windows 7 patch after reboot loop horror

Remy Redert

Re: Oops!

I have my system similarly configured, but for some reason some updates get auto-installed anyways. I've now added the relevant update servers to my hosts file and the router's blacklist. There will be no more updating or getting update information without my actions.

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FCC says cities should be free to run decent ISPs. And Republicans can't stand it

Remy Redert

Infrastructure

Some might say that in the world we now live in, the internet is infrastructure. And who is responsible for a lot of that? Governments. It seems that allowing a local government to roll out infrastructure and then wholesale it to commercial ISPs sounds like a good plan. The local government runs the local infrastructure, various ISPs rent capacity to service their customers.

Big ISPs, little ISPs, they've all got the same chance to compete with that setup. Of course the big ISPs won't like that because the little ISPs can and will compete them out of the local markets with lower prices (through lower overheads) and quite probably better customer service.

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Facebook sad-nav: How to put depressed chums on internet suicide watch

Remy Redert

Re: Erm...

It seems to be the exact opposite. Instead of a machine reading all your friend's posts and giving you a warning if they're feeling depressed/suicidal, which is very much abusable, this is a button YOU can press if YOU think your friend is feeling depressed/suicidal, which prompts Facebook to have a look at that person's recent history and offer help to the depressed/suicidal person.

This means that there's no machine reading of your posts because your friend signed up to something (Okay, Facebook, there's machine reading of your posts anyways) and your 'friends' aren't be alerted by Facebook. Abusing this feature would be a lot harder because presumably if a malicious party started reporting random/harmless things, they'd just get banned and if you make a fake account under someone's name to make them look suicidal, well, you could already do that just fine, this function doesn't change anything about that.

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SSL-busting adware: US cyber-plod open fire on Comodo's PrivDog

Remy Redert

Let's be fair here. Implemented properly a local mitm does not need to constitute a security risk. But the software doing it needs check the validity of certificates and either block untrusted ones and inform the user or pass untrusted certificates straight to the browser for it to handle.

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iBank: RBS, NatWest first UK banks to allow Apple Touch ID logins

Remy Redert

Re: Not smart.

Step 1) Talcum powder or similar over the screen, backside of the phone and any other items that are liable to have fingerprints.

Step 2) Sticky tape over now visible fingerprints.

Step 3) Sticky tape on scanner. You now have a digital copy of the fingerprint. Depending on the quality, some touch up may be required.

Step 4) Depending on technology, you can now print the fingerprint to paper (This still fools many fingerprint readers!) Or use 3d printing to make a mold.

Step 5) If you used 3d printing, fill the mold with a suitable gel. It will take a few hours to set. Skip this step if your targeted fingerprint reader can be fooled with printouts.

Step 6) Use fingerprint.

Total cost in equipment for printout fingerprints? A few bucks for the talcum and sticky tape. You probably already have the computer and scanner.

Total cost for the equipment for proper fingerprints is a few thousand bucks for the 3d printer, which is reusable and a few dollars per mold.

Depending on the quality of your mold and gel, you can get fingerprints thin enough to apply to your finger directly, making it difficult for others to notice that you're not using your own prints to log in. This is a moot point for the phone app as you do not need to use it near anybody, you can log in at home and transfer money at will.

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Boffins now one step closer to male birth control pill

Remy Redert

Re: And the IT angle

Both sides can take contraceptives. No more need to authenticate that Alice has been taking the pill, if you know you've been taking yours and the other way around.

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

Remy Redert

I have good news for you! While Chrome bundles Flash and enables it by default, it IS possible to turn it off completely.

To do this, go to settings > Privacy > content settings. There you can either block ALL plug-ins by default, or you can click the link below to disable individual plugins. Click that link, scroll down to Flash, click disable.

Your machine is now Flash free as far as the internet is concerned, since Chrome will no longer load the Flash libraries.

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Fill 'er up: 'Leccy car firm Tesla brings back PUMP SERVICE

Remy Redert

Re: They still do this in Europe

Too many cases of a pump attendant filling a diesel up with gasoline, or the increasing use of diesel for trucks?

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Judge kills Facebook's bid to dismiss private message sniffing case

Remy Redert

Re: Similarities

Quite similar, except that Google led with the fact that they would do so and Facebook buried it deep in their T&Cs. If they had been up front about it, the judge would have probably dismissed the suit.

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Remy Redert

Re: I seem to remember

Do you drive a car? Would you like to have food today? Where do you think the energy came from to build your pump, your solar panel and dig the hole for the ground source heat pump to work?

With a lot of efficiency improvements, many homes could have their power supplied by renewables. But the power to build those homes, make those efficient improvements, install the renewables, transport people and goods and produce those goods and food? That's a vastly larger amount that renewables have no chance to support whatsoever.

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Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Remy Redert

Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

That does sound hard. Of course the last time I tried to install Firefox on a Linux machine (Gentoo) about 5 years ago, I opened the program manager, selected browsers and clicked Firefox at which point it duly informed me that it would also install a few prerequisites for me and please enter your password here to complete the install.

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Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN

Remy Redert

Re: Nuclear

Actually, some decades ago some smart people got together and thought of the problems involved in running a nuclear reactor. They designed something called the NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications). It got around the cooling problem by realising that most of the cooling was needed when the nuclear reactor was providing power for propulsion. Which it did in that design by heating an exhaust gas.

Then they realised that is something called Open Cycle cooling and while they still needed some fairly decent radiators to get rid of the waste heat generated when the reactor wasn't running, they could get away with far less than you'd need to cool the reactor under power.

Running the reactor in this manner doesn't get you as much D/V as using the reactor only for electrical power would, but it does simplify things. And no, the exhaust is not radioactive.

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Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know

Remy Redert

Re: Some interesting possibilities here...

1) Hardly, lift to weight ratios on the drones you'd use for this are pretty good.

2) On the ground, typically. Balconies, gardens, etc. You will probably be able to indicate where you want to meet the drone yourself.

3) Why would it knock when it can call your cell?

4) If you're ordering something by drone, the whole point was delivery in 30 minutes or less. You won't be out, because you're ordering this and you know it'll be with you in 30 minutes.

5) I'm not sure about this one, but probably millions of people, if the location of the Amazon distribution center nearest to me in Netherlands is any indication.

6) Blocks of flats tend have to have balconies, which many drones would be able to land packages on. They also tend to have open spaces nearby you could use instead.

7) Trees and birds are a total non-issue, they are highly visible on LIDAR, which is the most likely choice for collision avoidance. Powerlines and phone lines may be an issue if you live an area where these are common and for some reason not mapped in advance. It's not like powerlines move around a lot. Clotheslines would be a bigger threat, those aren't as easy to map and if there's nothing on them, their LIDAR return tends to be pretty small as well.

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MAC BOTNET uses REDDIT comments for directions

Remy Redert

Re: Good old reddit.

Merely searching for and blocking access to the server list wouldn't help disinfect the computers though. Better to mod edit the existing list to point at a machine controlled by white hats. Then take the CnC servers down. Now all the bots go looking for a new CnC server and connect to the white hat one, rendering them harmless and identifiable.

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

Remy Redert

Re: At last

Except they didn't get the same result on the control, the control produced significantly less thrust. Now that thrust on the control might be a measurement error, but the difference between control and experiment indicates something is going on. And it's not like this is the first time the experiment was tried.

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Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

Remy Redert

Re: Too broad

If only this technology was A) Opt-in and B) Easily circumvented with a VPN.

Oh wait, for most providers it IS opt-in. And until ISPs start blocking all VPNs (Never, too many (big) companies rely on their home users being able to use VPNs) it's easily circumvented if you enable the filter for your connection because you have, for example, young kids around the house.

And then you realise that if YOU can get around the filter with a VPN, so can they. So what was the point of blocking content at the ISP level again?

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China puts Windows 8 on TV, screams: 'SECURITY, GET IT OUT OF HERE!'

Remy Redert

Not forcing so much, but you'll find that Windows 8 does its best to get you to use Skydrive for all your documents, pictures, etc. And of course to do so you'll need an account. And yes, that data is going to the US and as we already know, the safe harbour agreements are meaningless.

As for 'attacks' on my network. Over the last few weeks it seems to be a pretty even split between Russia, the US, China and the rest of the world combined.

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'Maybe I'll go to Hell, but I think it's a good thing' says plastic Liberator gunsmith Cody Wilson

Remy Redert

Re: wouldn't it be easier...

As easy as it is to make guns, it's even easier to make the ammo. I could make propellant with just household chemicals and some glassware. Probably even without the glassware, though it might be quite as reliable. I could make primers with just household chemicals too, but I figure the types of explosives I can make with household chemicals alone probably wouldn't be very suitable. That said, the chemicals I would need to make good primers are quite common.

Casting bullets isn't hard either, especially if you're willing to settle for plain lead rounds. Jacketed rounds require a little extra work but even those aren't particularly hard. Milling the brass for the cartridges is about the only step that requires some serious equipment to do quickly and reliably, but again you can do it with just power tools and a little ingenuity.

Assembling the components into the final cartridge can be done without any special tools as well, though again having the right tools for the job makes things a fair bit easier and faster.

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Chinese patent app tries to own Wine on ARM

Remy Redert

Re: A waste of money

And in the real world meanwhile, the big company with patents takes the other companies to court and either wins by default when the other company can no longer afford to defend itself or settles with the other company for an undisclosed amount.

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China demands answers from US after 'I spy on one little Huawei' report

Remy Redert

Re: Seems strange...

So instead of Huawei building and designing your communications equipment that your defense and infrastructure rely on, you get a US company to design and build it. And then they outsource the designing to half a dozen different companies all working on different parts with little to no oversight and outsource the building to factories in, you guessed it, China.

So yeah, letting Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent or Juniper networks build your military or infrastructure critical gear in China sounds like the height of stupidity. It's also pretty much inevitable at this point and most first world countries cannot afford to build anywhere near the amount of infrastructure gear they need at home. Don't you just love low wage countries and capitalism?

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Boffins hose down fiery Li-ion batteries with industrial lubricant

Remy Redert

Re: Great up to 200 degrees C then what?

But does it matter for PFPE's use as an electrolyte? There's obviously sodium nitrate in Krytox, but will it be in PFPE mixes used for battery electrolytes? If it doesn't, then what it does is irrelevant because batteries won't contain any.

As for the gases it decomposes into, yes, nasty stuff. But if your battery is 300 degrees celcius your car is probably on fire and if your car is on fire, there are plenty of other materials in the car that emit nasty noxious fumes when they burn. At least with this electrolyte, your battery won't burst into flames at significantly lower temperatures.

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Obama reveals tiny NSA reforms ... aka reforming your view of the NSA

Remy Redert

Re: If you're not a terrorist, you have nothing to worry about

Oh. That one is easy. Terrorist and terrorism come from the word terror, about which the dictionary says the following:

1. intense, sharp, overmastering fear: to be frantic with terror.

2. an instance or cause of intense fear or anxiety; quality of causing terror: to be a terror to evildoers.

3. any period of frightful violence or bloodshed likened to the Reign of Terror in France.

4. violence or threats of violence used for intimidation or coercion; terrorism.

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Curiosity rover: While you humans were busy being hungover, this bot hit its 500th Martian day

Remy Redert

Re: Predictable

I don't know off hand what isotope its RTG is using, but I'm going to guess their design lifetime is based on wear and tear and mechanical failure, not the power supply. So they've got a pretty good idea of when it will fail based on power but they probably don't expect it to last as long as its RTG.

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You can't touch this: It's HAMR time for WD

Remy Redert

Re: 3Tb drives. Nice.

I have about 4tb of assorted files. Games, anime, movies, PDFs. The vast majority of which is entirely replaceable. My backups are a couple of gigabytes worth of hard to replace PDFs and personal files. RPG info, character sheets, etc.

If my HDD dies, it'll take an hour to reinstall Windows, another hour to get the software I use a lot and then I start reinstalling games and downloading anime I'd like to watch (again) over a period of weeks. Most of it just things I've watched and deemed good enough to watch again some time, so I leave it on the drive until I ran out of space and start deleting some of it.

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PlayStation 4 BLUE LIGHT OF DEATH blamed on power cords, TV sets, butterflies in China

Remy Redert

They mean "We didn't sanitize the return we get on the some of the HDMI version and capability requests, so a TV with a bad implementation can cause our console to crash"

Or perhaps they mean "Your TV isn't a Sony. Screw you!" It's probably the former though, where the problem actually is a 'TV compatibility issue'.

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SECRET draft copyright treaty LEAKED: Meet the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Remy Redert

The big companies will just hire expensive lawyers and tie you up in court for 10+ years, then settle for a few pennies if you've somehow managed to not go bankrupt first.

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Cubesats to go interplanetary with tiny plasma drives

Remy Redert

Re: Leaving orbit?

Not a rocket scientist, but at the altitude cubesats are normally released, drag should be minimal enough to boost out of orbit even with something as weak as a mini plasma drive.

Starting a little higher would add a good deal of effective delta V though, so a good idea if possible.

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Is it a BIRD? Is it a plane? Right first time – and she's in SPANDEX

Remy Redert

Re: "anything that doesn’t remote detonate, so a grenade launcher’s fine too"

I think you'll find that as a safety feature, grenades out of a grenade launcher will not doing any detonating between your feet (Or for that matter, anywhere within 10 to 20 meters from the point of launch).

For some reason they thought that was a really useful safety feature for a weapon they were going to hand to army grunts.

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NASA to flip ion engine's 'OFF' switch after brilliant 5.5 year burn

Remy Redert

Nuclear propulsion

If you want to go to Mars in a month, an ion drive isn't going to help all that much as it just doesn't have enough thrust. You're going to have to bring a nuclear thermal or a nuclear electric (VASIMR, for example) rocket to get the required combination of thrust and impulse.

You could theoretically build an electric rocket using a VASIMR or similar technology powered by solar panels but that would require some pretty damned large solar panels with all the requisite expenses and mass

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Look out, fanbois! EVIL charger will inject FILTH into your iPHONE

Remy Redert

Charge-only

I don't know how it works software/hardware wise, but Android allows you to set a default action on connecting. From what I've seen my computer is not aware of any device being connected when I switch to charge-only. Does it just ignore the data pins and dump anything from them straight to /dev/null?

If not, could a similar exploit be used against Android phones with the only mitigation being power-only USB cables? I guess at least Android (and Windows?) phones can mitigate it that way.

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German court: 'Nein' to Apple 'global consent' on fanbois' privacy

Remy Redert

Re: paradoxical?

Exact user location. I'm pretty sure 'somewhere in Germany' doesn't count as such. Besides, they can track that by ip anyways, no need for the phone to phone home with GPS data for that one.

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'Leccy-stealing, grid-crippling hackers could TAKE DOWN EV-juicing systems

Remy Redert

Re: It's not even that...

Given the usual level of security in wireless and physical locks, I don't see that being much of a deterrent. Now maybe if you can get the car to message the user when/if it's unplugged (and when it's at specific charge levels, while we're at it) that kind of trick would be much less of a problem.

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NASA-backed fusion engine could cut Mars trip down to 30 days

Remy Redert

Re: What about shielding?

A small fleck of paint at interplanetary speeds would not just mark a window. It would likely put a hole a right through it.

However high speed collisions like that are easy to shield against with a whipple shield but you probably don't want any windows in the front.

As for breakeven. Don't forget that for breakeven in a fusion electric reactor you have to get your fusion and then convert the energy from that fusion into electricity. And thermodynamics being a pain in the butt you're going to be losing a bunch of energy to low grade heat there. The propulsion system has much lower inefficiencies and so reaches breakeven much more easily.

You put 200kW in and get more out in kinetic energy, so straight up ion will be less efficient. VASIMR will require a larger powerplant but I'm not sure if it can get a higher specific impulse out of the reaction mass.

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Card skimmers targeting more than ATMs, says EU

Remy Redert

I had to check the Youtube playlists for this and it turns out it was Defcon 19, not 20, that detailed just how broken chip and pin is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JABJlvrZWbY

It does not detail the process or methods of cloning a chip, however it does detail skimming them, it does detail how you can use the information from the chip to create a fully functioning magstripe from most chip and pin chips and yes, it details how you can get a point of sale terminal to transmit the PIN in the clear to the chip.

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Remy Redert

Just a nice note for the people who think rendering their magstripe unreadable will prevent people from copying the magstripe. For redundancy reasons your friendly banks included the FULL MAGSTRIPE on the chip which can be sent in the clear to the point of sale terminal. This was pointed out in Defcon 20 and only the most recent types of chip do anything to fix it.

Additionally, the majority of chip and pin cards will accept an offline authentication whereby they verify the PIN between the chip and the point of sale. Again, they send this data back and forth unencrypted. As for cloning the chip, while more expensive than cloning a magstripe it is very doable. The only reason it isn't being done much is because it's far less effort to just copy the magstripe and your PIN via the handily provided chip and pin system, then make a magstripe card and use it to commit your fraud.

By the time the bank catches on, the crook is a fair bit richer and long gone. They don't care who gets hit with the bill after all.

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Fake fingers fool Brazilian biometrics

Remy Redert

Re: Mythbusters

Yes, they got a 'secure' fingerprint scanner that had never been cracked.

It was fooled by the aforementioned photocopy. And every other method they tried. Their conclusion was iirc that it had only never been cracked because nobody had ever tried to.

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Zuck on that! Instagram loses HALF its hipsters in a month

Remy Redert

Re: Hmmm

Don't worry. The first thing the place you upload your pictures to will do is strip all the metadata for you. Wouldn't want that getting out onto the web would we? might contain private information you see.

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Dogs would say: SIZE is IMPORTANT, shape - not so much

Remy Redert

Re: I always wondered...

The trick here is the criminal's response vs the jogger's response. The jogger seeing the cops and the dog will stop, the criminal will run faster. The dog now has an easy way to pick out his targets that is convenient for the cops as well.

And what if the criminal stops as well? Well, then the dog did its job of stopping the criminal without even having to bite anyone.

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Astronauts (or other 'nauts) could find life on Mars quite healthy

Remy Redert

Re: Fission reactors on Mars are not a *new* sugggestion either.

All good things come in threes. Don't pack a 500MW nuclear reactor for your ship's powersupply and engine. Pack 3 ~175MW nuclear reactors instead. And only use the power from 2 of them in your planned trip so if one kicks the bucket, you can still make it to Mars with only a minimal change in plans.

Physically separating the reactors might be nice as well, but that would probably because excessively costly for no real improvement in safety, not to mention make compensating for a failure a bigger problem because of off-axis thrust.

Then once you arrive at Mars, drop 1 of your reactors to the planet for use in the base. If it fails, you've still got a spare in orbit (But you'll probably want to bring that back with you to Earth as well. Plan for a failure). On the way back your ship will be a lot lighter and you can use atmospheric skipping to shed some of your excess speed on the way back to Earth.

Oh, and remember all that nasty hydrogen we produced while making our breathing oxygen? Well guess what, a nuclear reactor has no problem whatsoever using hydrogen as a reaction mass. Burning your reaction mass is for chumps, real men use nuclear reactors to heat their reaction mass!

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Hitachi buys Horizon to save UK's nuclear future

Remy Redert

@John Smith 19

While the Chernobyl reactors were low energy density compared to PWRs, don't forget that being graphite moderated they have some rather large safety issues. Positive void coefficient means the reactor will increase in power in the event coolant starts to boil at the wrong places or coolant channels become clogged, causing (partial) meltdowns and similar issues.

For a true low energy density reactor, you need a design that is limited by heat coefficient like the PBR and gas cooled. Those can suffer a full loss of coolant and full loss of control rods without melting down. They just get really hot and dump their heat passively to the surrounding air. The hotter they get the less power they produce.

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Hurricane Sandy starts to hit IT providers

Remy Redert

Re: Weird

They're not at a server farm though. As noted, 1&1 does not have any server farms in the area, just a support centre/helldesk.

And while a dedicated server farm is no doubt weather resistant I wouldn't want to test my datacenter's resilience to hurricanes for the first time with me inside it. Let's see some datacenters get hit by F5s and survive more or less unscathed first.

Anybody got examples for the above yet? Wouldn't surprise me if it's already happened before.

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Another systematic SCADA vuln

Remy Redert

Re: German style?

These would be the same Tiger tanks that regularly not just broke down during movement, but whose transmission was actually prone to exploding and setting the inside of the tank on fire?

As good as German engineering can get, I'm not sure I'd use any of their late war tanks for examples.

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OpenStack certification up for grabs - if you pass its Kobayashi Maru

Remy Redert

Re: "if you pass the Star Trek-like Kobayashi Maru"

Actually, semantics difference there. You can pass the Kobayashi Maru, you cannot win it. Just because you lose the scenario doesn't mean you can't pass the test. It just means your ability to win wasn't what was being tested in the first place.

The Star Trek Kobayashi Maru was after all a test of character.

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Online bank punters tricked into approving theft of their OWN CASH

Remy Redert

Re: Stupidity is a luxury

If it's anything like the TAN SMS system used by my bank, changing the phone number requires either going to the bank in person, with the bank card and ID or going through a lengthy process involving snail mail and verification from the old phone.

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Skype: Nearly half of adults don't install software updates

Remy Redert

Update on exit

How hard is it? Take Opera's approach to updating. Don't tell the user to drop everything and update now, ask the user if he would like the update to be downloaded and applied on exit/restart automatically. You obviously need the pop-up unless you've allowed the program to update automatically but now you can just decide whether or not you want to update and then continue with what you were doing either way.

Then when you're done with what you're doing, you close the program and it updates itself. This would make updating many programs so much less painful (I'm looking at you, Windows.) I would install updates a lot more frequently if I could just tell all my programs to go ahead and download their respective updates, then install them sequentially and shut down.

Alternatively, get with the times and allow programs to modify files in use so you can take the Linux approach. Start the program AND install the update at the same time without every updater having to worry about how to handle this without breaking something.

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Judge: Twitter offers free speech, American style

Remy Redert

re: Alternative option

So if someone deletes a tweet, you're expecting Twitter to go back through all of its backups to delete the tweet as well? I don't normally even do that for files I delete in backed up folders when the back up is attached or live on the server, let alone going through my archives to delete every single instance of the file.

Then there's also the issue of Google cache and a number of other caching sites (Internet archive anyone?). Twitter should act as the user expects it to, so change the 'delete' to 'Make slightly harder to find'. Let's face it, once you post something on the internet be it via Twitter, Facebook or your own website, it's there to stay and there's nothing you can do about it any more in the same way you can't unsend an e-mail or stop a snail mail letter from going out once you post it.

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GPS spoofing countermeasures: Your smartphone already has them

Remy Redert

@Dave Bell

That was a Streetview car passing by, or someone with an Android phone and location services enabled. In fact, it was probably several people doing the latter.

Google probably have some quite precise maps of wifi hotspots throughout most of Europe and the US.

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Puny US particle punisher finds strong evidence for God particle

Remy Redert

Re: Strongest indication yet!

And those strong indications have been getting stronger and stronger. Sooner or later someone's going to spot some of them Higgs bosons and then we'll be able to replicate the results and start working on practical applications. Expect anti-gravity within a few millennia!

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Kepler space telescope peers at hot alien couple

Remy Redert
Stop

@Jon Green

Yeah, a moon except for the part where it's not orbiting the gas giant either, which is one of the bigger prerequisites for being a moon in the first place.

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