* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1368 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Good news: 'password' is no longer the #1 sesame opener, now it's '123456'

Flocke Kroes
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When you do not want to create an account

Try emails postmaster@localhost or user@name.example.com with passwords password or wordpass.

If that does not work, create that account so the next person does not have to bother.

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Nokia Lumia update spreads Black death

Flocke Kroes
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"differentiating its Windows phones portfolio from the rest of the pack"?

Nokia's market 3.9%

Windows phone share 3.6%

Other OS market share 0.4% (not Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry)

If we pretend that 0.4% is 100% Symbian, that means 3.5% of the market is Windows phone on Nokia. That leaves 0.1% for Windows phone on Samsung, ZTE and HTC. (up to 0.25% if you are generous with the rounding errors). Even assigning all 0.25% to HTC would mean Windows phone was only 10% of their business.

Nokia does not need to differentiate because 'the rest of the pack' doesn't care, and because Nokia sold their mobile phone business to Microsoft.

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Tales from an expert witness: Prior art and patent trolls

Flocke Kroes
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You missed the most common way inventors deal with patents

Don't waste your time reading them because:

You would have to read thousands to find anything relevant.

You would have to learn patent language to understand them.

Even if you understand the patent, your still have to do the research to create a product.

Reading a patent makes you liable for triple damages.

You are going to get sued anyway.

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Flocke Kroes
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The mighty have fallen half way

A few years ago, Microsoft would not have tolerated dual boot from a major manufacturer. Perhaps a few years from now, customers will be able to choose what OS is pre-installed.

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BT 118 phone number fee howler lands telco giant with £225k fine

Flocke Kroes
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Easy

Use javascript to resize an image until the legally required information is below the fold.

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How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

Flocke Kroes
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Easy patentless way to fund things like flesh lights

kickstarter

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Flocke Kroes
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No point in student discounts

Defending a patent costs several hundred thousand. If you do not have that, the trolls won't offer you more than a pint for a patent. A MegaCorp might offer you 99% of the litigation revenue, and then use the patent exclusively for cross-licensing so you get 99% of nothing.

Don Dumb: I have good news for you - there are already plans to create a specialist patent court to rule on the validity of patents and any other type of patent disputes. This will take ordinary judges and juries out of the process and all decisions will be made by patent professionals. Perhaps the European Patent office did not advocate these plans purely out of self-interest. Personally, I think you would stand a better chance in getting justice with trial by ordeal.

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Flocke Kroes
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@WatAWorld

You are demonstrably wrong about global markets. If the Rasberry Pi Foundation had wasted money on patents, and MegaCorp had copied the Pi, the foundation would have nothing but legal bills while MegaCorp would have product revenue and could cause delays and appeals for years. Instead, the foundation did launch a modest product world-wide all at once and have sold over two million.

ARM would do fine without patents. Their designs are protected by copyrights. If the patent system disappeared, Apple and Samsung could make ARM compatible CPU's by recreating all the verilog, building a batch of CPU's, finding the bugs and repeating until they either get it right, or stop throwing money down the drain and license ARM's tested and working design.

BTW: Try downloading ARM's (or Intel's) patents and putting them into a verilog simulator. The result will be a big list of errors, not an emulated CPU. The patents do not disclose anything of value.

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Flocke Kroes
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Tabarrok's curve, first mover and the elephant

If we pretend the curve is accurate, deleting the entire patent system keeps innovation at the same rate, but has a bunch of other advantages: the courts are not backlogged with patents cases and all the patent examiners and patents lawyers are free to to something constructive instead.

In the real world, being first to market is an advantage. If your first generation product is copied, by the time the copy reaches the market your second generation product is ready to protect your market share. If on the other hand you invest in patents instead of a second generation product, delays and legal fees will bankrupt you before you get a penny from the copycats.

Finally, the idea of the patent system was that in return for getting a monopoly, you published how your invention works. There is so much dross that an inventor is unlikely to find a relevant patent. There is no chance he will understand it because it is written in patent language, and if he gets it translated the chances are he will find the invention is not adequately described anyway. Inventors do not read patents unless they are being sued - partly for the reasons just given, but also because reading patents makes inventors liable for triple damages.

I am all for using existing laws for reducing the patent problem prior to abolishment. IANAL, but I suspect demanding licensing fees for non-infringing products is fraud, and asking for settlements scaled to the cost of defending against nuisance litigation is racketeering.

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Mars One's certain-death space jolly shortlists 1,000 wannabe explorers

Flocke Kroes
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Reasons for applying

Wanting to live on Mars is not a good reason for applying. If you want to do humiliating 'psychological' tests live on television then go for it. Lucky winners can watch the trip delayed until it is cancelled with the rest of us. Unlucky winners can be one of the first corpses to crash into Mars live on TV. I think many of those 200,000 understand the difference between what is advertised and what is available.

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Haswell micro: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing desktop PC

Flocke Kroes
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No passive cooling!

Intel's web site makes it clear: active cooling, so it would be useless as a media centre even if it it were not massively over priced for that task. The PSU is rated for 65W (I did not look for the standby power specs). For me, it competes badly against an old laptop or an old ATX box that gets new components every few years. I assume the fan is a non-standard shape, so all £300 goes in the bin when the fan gets irritating. Small size is nice, but space for a 2½" disk would have added some value. (USB3 is fast enough, but it is so wobbly that one peck for a passing platypus causes the file system to get remounted read only).

Intel have demonstrated they are still good at expensive, loud and excessively fast. To compete with ARM, they need to go for cheap, silent and fast enough. If marketing insist the box has to be under 10mm thick, Intel could ship NUC's with two different lids - a thin one for marketing and a thick one with space for a pair of 3½" disks mounted with big rubber washers.

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Coming in 2014: Scary super-soldier exoskeleton suits from the US military

Flocke Kroes
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Bounding over the highest buildings

Terminal velocity (velocity when force of air resistance equals weight) for a human is about 32m/s. Double that if you try to land feet first instead of lying flat. You should increase it even more for metal armour, motors and batteries/petrol engine. You will get most of the way to 32m/s from a 50m building (16-25 storeys). Wakypedia has a list of 299 buildings over 240m, so reaching terminal velocity does not require Burj Khalifa (828m).

When you land, you go from terminal velocity to 0 while travelling the distance you curl up. If that distance is 2m (standing in armour to lying flat), your acceleration from 32m/s is 26g - but that is an impossible combination. If you were vertical, your velocity was 64m/s (104g). If you want 32m/s, then you are falling flat into a press up, so you have to shed your velocity in 1m (52g).

The actuators on the armour do not help - the best they can do is minimise the shock by spreading it over the whole 2m. Without the actuators, you would only lose a little velocity in the first 1.5m. Most of the velocity would go when you change shape from human to pancake. The armour itself is completely useless. Instead of hitting the ground, you hit the inside of the armour - and you hit harder because the density of the armour increased your terminal velocity. The armour may preserve your human shape, but bones at the bottom, meat in the middle and lungs on top is not treatable with modern medicine.

The record for a human is 46.2g. That caused broken limbs, broken ribs, detached retinas, and burst blood vessels in the eyes. Fighter pilot seats are rated for 32g because pilots can walk (well hobble) away from such impacts. Unborn rats can survive accelerations of 100g. Filling the lungs with water, 100g of impact followed by resuscitation might be survivable - at the cost of your eye-sight.

Plan B: polystyrene armour. A thick layer of polystyrene can increase the distance available to shed velocity. It will also increase your air resistance without adding much mass. Enough polystyrene would reduce the danger of the landing to bungee jump level. The down side is the jumping up part of your bound over a high building. Without air resistance, the jump requires surviving the same impact acceleration as the landing. In real life, you have to get your velocity well over terminal velocity so air resistance does not stop you before you get to the top of your building. The jump up is much harsher than the landing, and polystyrene armour would make it far worse.

If you want to bound over high (not highest) buildings, get a jet pack.

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Google's patent chief slammed the US patent office – now she's the agency's acting director

Flocke Kroes
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Backlog!

More please! This is one of the few things the USPTO does well. I look forward to the backlog getting big enough for patents to expire before they are granted.

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Got a one-of-a-kind N9? Get ready to adopt Meego's baby Sailfish

Flocke Kroes
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The insane thing was ...

N9 outsold Nokia's Windows Phone - without the enormous marketing campaign, subsidies or release in the biggest markets. It got excellent reviews and higher customer satisfaction ratings than the iPhone. Nokia had better troll Jolla to bankruptcy or Windows Phone will become even more irrelevant.

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Microsoft tarts up software licensing to fend off 'a few clicks and a credit card' rivals

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Pathetic Munich misinformation

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Munich-s-Migration-from-Windows-to-Linux-Is-Finally-Over-357169.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limux

http://jan.wildeboer.net/2013/01/that-hpmicrosoft-study-on-the-linux-migration-in-munich-hm/

Come on AC - give us a link to the HP study paid for by Microsoft that 'proves' Linux was more expensive than Windows:

http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/open-source/3421844/microsoft-refuses-to-release-study-challenging-munich-linux-success/

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Flocke Kroes
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Microsoft need resellers

When you discover the software is not fit for purpose, you cannot blame Microsoft because you bought from a reseller. The whole reseller thing is about blame shifting and responsibility dodging.

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Flocke Kroes
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Re: I'm not the pheasant plucker ...

... I'm the pheasant plucker's mate,

and I am here plucking pheasants

'cause the pheasant plucker's late.

Any more and there will be nine pleasant pheasant pluckers presently plucking pheasants on a pleasant pheasant plucking day.

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Sceptic-bait E-Cat COLD FUSION generator goes on sale for $US1.5m

Flocke Kroes
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Don't stand too close

Pick one of the isotopes of nickel from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_nickel an note its mass. eg ⁵⁸Ni: 57.9353429 amu. Add the mass of a hydrogen atom (1.007825 amu) and subtract the mass of the corresponding copper isotope (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_copper) ⁵⁹Cu: 58.9394980 amu. For this example the result is +0.00367 amu, so the reaction releases energy. Convert to MeV by multiplying by 931.494061 (3.4Mev) so the energy comes out as a gamma ray.

If we walk past the magic required to get nickel to absorb protons at a useful rate (1.8x10¹² reactions per second per Watt), we still need another spell to convert the gamma rays to electricity with 100% conversion efficiency. Consider some of the consequences of failure. Pretend to device is only 99% efficient at absorbing gamma rays. That still leaves 150kJ/second. If you stand 100metres away, you get a very lethal dose of radiation every second. (A 1cm thick lead shield drops the gamma ray intensity by 50%, so a useless 99% shield is equivalent to 6.5cm of lead surrounding the reactor). The other problem is generating electricity. The usual way to do this in bulk is that the radiation heats a liquid that drives a turbine that spins a generator. If you get 1.5MW of electricity out like that, you also have to have to get rid of 3MW of heat. Again lets use magic to get 99% conversion efficiency. That still leaves 15kW of heat. I did not see any fans on that container, so park it somewhere cool.

Alternatively, as no-one has died from radiation poisoning, you can safely assume this E-Cat does not use a nuclear reaction.

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Apple Schill-er: 'I was shocked - SHOCKED! They went and copied the iPhone'

Flocke Kroes
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Except of course

http://www.examiner.com/article/samsung-not-guilty-of-copying-ipad-u-k-judge-demands-public-apology-from-apple

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US Patent Office disputes crucial scroll-and-bounce Apple tech – Samsung demands patent trial halt

Flocke Kroes
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At the time...

Labour in Japan was cheap - certainly compared to US and EU. The two keys to manufacture moving to Japan were quality control and investment. Shipping product half way round the world only to find it was broken wasted far more money than shipping it to another state. Also, the cost of repairs would depend on local wages. Japanese companies used investment to start selling at a low price. They used quality circles to feed problems reports back into the manufacturing process so that mistake were not repeated. This let the manufacturer get the cost down below the initial low price. Also, back then, patents were sometimes rejected for being completely obvious.

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Forget invisible kittens, now TANKS draped in INVISIBILITY CLOAK

Flocke Kroes
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Back in the nineties ...

Downward pointing aircraft radars were set to highlight missing pieces of ground. Tanks using this kit would really draw attention to themselves.

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MPAA, RIAA: Kids need to learn 3 Rs – reading, writing and NO RIPPING

Flocke Kroes
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Advertising illegal downloads

The lead-in with the girl downloading a film made an excellent advert for illegal downloading. I assume RIAA and MPAA want similar adverts in schools so they can do a Prenda.

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GIMP flees SourceForge over dodgy ads and installer

Flocke Kroes
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Find a mirror with ftp access

The naming convention is easy to understand. Searching and downloading via ftp is far simpler than with the user hostile http site - and that was before people started complaining about the ads.

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Berners-Lee: 'Appalling and foolish' NSA spying HELPS CRIMINALS

Flocke Kroes
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Anyone got the names of the 28 MPs?

I just wondered which ones the Security Services have the most dirt on.

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UK.gov forks out £250k to rescue EROTIC novelists and pals from PIRATES

Flocke Kroes
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Easy ...

... follow Steele and Hansmeier's example. I am sure the government will give away another £250 million to set up Prenda UK.

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BBC to spaff £18 MILLION of licence fee cash... on BIG DATA

Flocke Kroes
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Anyone know ...

... what percentage of customers are driven away by analytics?

When analytics consultants infest a website, the website suddenly requires javascript. If the javascript works at all it is slower than a squashed slug and some twit puts an animations all over the pages to make it difficult to read the text.

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The web needs globally backed, verifiable security standards – says Huawei

Flocke Kroes
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Please understand patents

In theory mathematics is not patentable. In practice anything can be patented. Software is mathematics, so it is not patentable. There is an explicit exemption that makes software unpatentable in the EU. To get a patent on software in the EU, you call it a 'computer implemented invention'. The RSA algorithm for public key cryptography is covered by (expired) U.S. Patent 4,405,829. The disaster with patents is that an infinite number of code monkeys can come up with an infinite number implementations without ever reading any patents, but they can still all be sued for infringement - even if they all have licenses for the litigated expired invalid patents.

The thing is, we have had the basic requirements for security well publicised for decades:

Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.

Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.

Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.

Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

You need all of these to give people the power and incentive to find and fix bugs efficiently, and to distribute the results. Without the source code, and the rights and tools to use it, you can find a thousand exploits, but still have to pay lock-in prices to the supplier to get anything fixed. On top of that, you have to put up with whatever addition features the supplier chooses to include with security updates.

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A $17.3bn fine, you say? Samsung begs for five-year patent war truce

Flocke Kroes
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Just curious ...

How much did Apple pay to license these patents?

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Microsoft: Everyone stop running so the fat kid Win RT can catch up

Flocke Kroes
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It's 'make phones or die'

Ballmer is getting pushed out because he took Microsoft's phone market share from 12% to 4±1%. According to Mr Orlowski, 'Windows Phone has been a success for Microsoft in 2013' but it has been a disaster for Nokia. WP took Nokia's market share from 35% to 4±1%. The only reason it got such a high market share was because the unsold piles phones were sold from the bargain bin at a huge loss. RT is about as successful as Windows Phone.

The desk top market is dying and the laptop market is not healthy. Microsoft are converting their desktop OS into a legacy business - the shinking market will be countered by increasing prices. At some point, the price will get so high that sales will fall to 0. Microsoft need a different market, and Bill has decided it is phones. The phone market is still growing. Phones are powerful enough to do common tasks that used to belong to desktops and laptops, and phones are getting more powerful each year.

Microsoft will continue to throw money at the WP/RT burning platforms for as long as they have money to burn. That is not poor management. It is sound business sense. The problem is that Microsoft have been utterly incapable of getting a significant market share. You can blame it on bad management, unenthusiastic salesmen, the developers, the carriers, or the dog that ate Ballmer's home work. What ever the reason, Mr Orlowski will be writing another article saying how well Microsoft have done to increase their phone market share to 2±1% next year.

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Let police track you through your mobe - it's for your OWN GOOD

Flocke Kroes
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Going back a decade ...

... some service providers reduced the prices of mobile calls when the call was made from home. The kit back then knew when your phone was at home - it might get the wrong answer if you were next door, but it knew if you were further away than that. This was to better compete with land lines - and to be sure the service provider knew your home address.

So, the additional cost to the operators of knowing your location when the phone is registered with the network is £0. There is a cost in transporting that information to the police. I am sure the current prices for that are exorbitant. I have assumed that this information has been streamed continuously to GCHQ for years. It is the sort of thing they would do, and they have no incentive to care that it is supposed to be illegal.

If I call the police, I am happy for them to know where I am, and I would rather they did not have to pay an excessive amount to find that out. This enquiry might lead to a better deal. Decide for yourself if this means lower taxes or increased phone bills.

The operators are required to keep records of where phones were, and the police get a court order for subsets of that database. (Some people really are stupid enough to regularly commit crimes while carrying a mobile.) The information is out there. It is being used and abused already. The only thing a new law will do is legitimise existing practice. If you want to be sure you are not being tracked, removed the phone's battery just like you cover the lens of a camera if you do not want to be photographed. (Guess why there is no off-switch for the microphone.)

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Best Buy: Bring us your cowering, unwanted Microsoft Surface masses

Flocke Kroes
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Re: howtogeek secure boot article

Microsoft’s own Windows Hardware Certification Requirements state that for non-ARM systems, you must be able to both disable Secure Boot and change the keys

A while ago, it was big news that manufacturers did not provide the means to disable secure boot or change the keys. I do not see it in the news so often. I do not know if that is because manufacturers have given purchasers control of non-ARM Windows8 computers or because lack of action has persisted so long that it is no longer news.

To me, this means that the first step in buying a new computer is to check that I can install the operating system of my choice. It also means that if a friend wants to try Linux on their computer, they may have to buy a new one because that particular model does not completely follow Microsoft’s published Windows Hardware Certification Requirements.

Although I wish that it would be possible to change the OS on ARM devices, it is fair to say that Microsoft is following the industry standard with regard to tablets here.

I think it is fair to say their are plenty of ARM tablets without boot loader restrictions. There is no such thing as "the industry standard".

Secure boot prevents malware from infecting your system at a low, undetectable level during boot.

Secure boot prevents unsigned malware from infecting your system during boot. I am sure it allows NSA malware to boot, and whatever malware was created by the nation where you bought the computer. UEFI is sufficiently complicated that it is likely to contain security flaws anyway. I would have more confidence in OpenBIOS on the grounds that it is far simpler and it is possible to audit the code.

Campaigning against UEFI/Secure Boot as a technology is short-sighted, misinformed, and unlikely to be effective anyways. It’s more important to ensure that manufacturers actually follow Microsoft’s requirements for letting users disable Secure Boot or change the keys if they so desire.

The good news is you can buy devices without UEFI, Secure Boot or Windows 8. I think that is much more sensible than buying an OS you do not want, begging for a means to install your own keys and hoping that UEFI is not back doored and full of flaws. I would like to think that campaigning against UEFI/Secure Boot as a technology was effective, and contributed to the reduced sales of Window PCs. If there is such a contribution, it is probably hard to measure because of all the other reasons people are buying alternatives to Windows PCs.

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Easily picked CD-ROM drive locks let Mexican banditos nick ATM cash

Flocke Kroes
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Backwards

I thought the sensible plan would be to remove the hard disk and set the BIOS to boot only from a CD ROM. That way, turning the machine off an on again wipes out any remotely installed malware. If someone has the ability to change the CD, then they also have the ability to swap in a new CDROM, or a new hard disk. BIOS restrictions on the type of boot device are not a significant barrier to anyone with physical access.

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British support for fracking largely unmoved by knowledge of downsides

Flocke Kroes
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The other fear

Even higher energy bills.

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Nixed Nirvanix files for Chapter 11

Flocke Kroes
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maximize value for its creditors?

The whole idea of chapter 11 is they can make their pre-petition creditors (suppliers) wait until after the reorganisation is complete. While in chapter 11, the company runs up post petition debt (with bankruptcy lawyers) that get paid if the bankruptcy court approves the bill. A competent law firm should be able to suck the company dry within a couple of years and build up enough debt to collect the entire proceeds of chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

Surely a famous firm of professional analysts like Gartner would have seen this coming...

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Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

Flocke Kroes
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The US PTO has about 28 days of reserve funding

I glanced at an (incomplete) list. US PTO had the longest reserve. Second place had 14 days. Perhaps diverting R&D budgets to lawyers is critical to the funding of congress critters.

The bit that got me was the quoted paragraph. If a feature may be part of an invention, then a product that lacks the feature is still covered by the patent. Try that paragraph again without the optional features:

The invention relates ... to a building made using building panels.

That is all that is left. According to this one paragraph, glass, layers, curves, fins, beams, fittings and a roof are not required to infringe this patent. Apple have patented the garden fence - among other things. With work like this, why does the PTO get any funding at all? If lawyers want a patent system, they should fund the PTO themselves. While we are at it, deny them access to the courts. They can publish free abstracts of what a patent achieves, and charge people who want to read about how it is done.

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500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?

Flocke Kroes
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Sample of 1

The only Windows app I still use runs quickly in WINE on an ancient laptop. Most of the time it is used remotely with a raspberry pi as an X server. I think someone with a larger XP legacy will find mileage will vary. Even if it only solves half your problems, at a cost of $0 forever, WINE is worth trying.

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Seagate to storage bods: You CAN touch this (at last). Stop, HAMR time

Flocke Kroes
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Space and power

A big 2.5" is 1TB. A big 3.5" is 4TB. To compare space and power, compare four 2.5's to one 3.5. It think the reason HAMR is starting at 2.5" is they are starting with a small, high-margin market because there will not be much production capacity to start with, and the cost of a recall will not be a disaster. I would much rather send three apologies and three trucks of new drives to Google, Facebook and Amazon than send 100,000 disks to 50,000 different commentards.

I am sure a big slow 3.5" will arrive when manufacturing has scaled up. In the mean time, shingle is a more obvious choice than HAMR if high speed is not required.

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NSA: Yes, some of our spooks DID snoop on overseas lovers

Flocke Kroes
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Other reason to let them play

"Boss, wasn't that illegal?"

"Take a look at this record of you listening in on your girlfriend's phone call."

"Sorry boss, my mistake. I am sure you were acting within the limits of a secret FISA warrant I have not seen."

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Flocke Kroes
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@BlueGreen: SAK (and much more) is in Linux

<ctrl><alt><backspace> Terminates the X server. This will cause the death of the window manager and any program it started. Most installations have a display manager that will restart the X server with a login program. Read the xorg man page for how to change the key combination or disable. The most common display managers are gdm and kdm. Both are very configurable.

<ctrl><alt><delete> can be intercepted by software that puts the keyboard into raw mode. Read the /proc/sys/kernel/ctrl-alt-del section of the proc man page to set the tty layer's behaviour if the keyboard is not in raw mode. The default behaviour is to send SIGINT to process 1. This is normally init, which will execute the command specified for ctrlaltdel in /etc/inittab.

<alt><sysreq>H Outputs the help for sysreq keys to the current virtual console. The one you are looking for is the secure acces key: <alt><sysreq>k - unless you changed the keyboard translation tables with loadkeys. The documentation is here. SAK cannot be intercepted by putting the keyboard into raw mode. It kills all processes on the current virtual terminal. Unless configured otherwise, init will spot this and run login on the terminal.

There are other handy things you can do with the sysreq key like remount all file systems read only and sync all the disks - unless the functionality was disabled from /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq.

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UK's Get Safe Online? 'No one cares' - run the blockbuster ads instead

Flocke Kroes
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Unusual transactions

I tried to buy a big TV - not something I do every decade. Someone claiming to represent the vendor asks me for the publicly available information my bank asks for when 'verifying' my identity. I explained that I did not give that information to unknown callers for security reasons, but I would be happy to call the vendor or the bank to answer the questions. This basic security measure was beyond the understanding of the caller and her computer was not programmed to offer any sensible solution, so the purchase is cancelled.

I repeated the above with a different vendor. After the deal got cancelled, I got a call from someone claiming to represent the bank who said that someone might be trying to use my card. Again I refused to answer the questions. I called the bank, answered the questions and explained what was going on. They removed the block on my card, but could not do anything about processing the payment. [The solution was to go to the first vendor's shop, and pay there - I paid the internet price rather than the shop price because of the failed online transaction.]

If a few computer illiterates take a passing interest in online security then the first time they try to apply their new knowledge they will be stonewalled by the vendors' and the banks' brain dead payment processing systems. The place to start online security eduction is with the banker responsible for making the bank's web site look stylish. Also the programmer responsible for hiding the 'http://' in Firefox should receive some proper security training with a clue bat.

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Oracle sued over $33,000 bill for SaaS: STRIPPERS as a SERVICE

Flocke Kroes
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Take a look at a rip-off bar menu

Pick somewhere touristy, sleazy and expensive and you will find the local variant of a rip-off bar. The obvious place to look in London is Soho. You do not have to look hard, as a sexy girl will invite you in. In the UK, such places are required to display a menu with prices outside. Start with the small print at the bottom and you will find things like:

30% service charge

No alcohol served in this establishment

If you buy a girl a drink, it will be $some_silly_name

Next look to the price of $some_silly_name. It will be well over £200. A few rounds of drinks for the girls plus the service charge will get the bill up to several thousands. $17,000 shows some determined cluelessness. Doing it twice demonstrates world class stupidity.

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The NSA's hiring - and they want a CIVIL LIBERTIES officer

Flocke Kroes
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Responsibility, but no mention of power

Power to investigate what the NSA is doing? Power to collect evidence? Power to show that evidence to a judge and jury?

Why not just hire someone to take responsibility of earth quakes and tidal waves.

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Java updates too much of a bother? Maybe online banking's just not for you

Flocke Kroes
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I disabled javascript as soon my browser supported it

There was a bad time when this noticeably restricted which web sites would render properly, but there were always other places to go. Several sites I remember leaving because they required javascript are now working fine without it. I try enabling javascript occasionally. I find the results more irritating and horrible each time. Try turning javascript off occasionally, and see if you are happier without it.

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Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Flocke Kroes
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Dual boot phone?

Imagine if phones came with one of the free operating systems installed, with the option to buy, download and install one or more of the others. That would be real competition.

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So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

Flocke Kroes
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Social engineering security test

NSA guy turns up and asks Linus to install a back door. When Linus says no, the NSA can have some confidence that Linus will not install a back door for any criminal claiming to be from the NSA.

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Windows Phone overtakes Apple's market share ... in India

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Numbers?

The article did say 'up to 5.4%'. An unfortunate phrase since we hear 'up to 20mb broadband' so often. I have confidence that Ballmer can get the market share back below 3% before he leaves.

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Flocke Kroes
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If you live in a lake, it takes longer to walk to the well

If you are considering a robot economy, you can use the robots to solve its problems: robot recycling, robot mining, robot manufacture of power stations. The flaw I see is population growth. If resources become more available, the population will grow until some resource becomes scarce - or until we use killer robots to cull the population.

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Open ZFS wielders kick off 'truly open source' dev group

Flocke Kroes
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Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

HereWeGoAgain:

Since when is the GPL the yardstick by which free or open source software is measured?

Since about 70% of open source projects select a GPL license.

I wonder if you do really 'stick to GPL', or just think you do. Do you use X11? That's an MIT licence. Do you use Apache? Apache licence. Firefox? MPL. And so on.

'stick to GPL' is your phrase, not mine. I am very well aware of the licenses for X11, Apache and Firefox. All the licenses you just mentioned are GPL compatible. I have a specific problem with the CDDL, and why Sun selected it.

Oninoshiko: You are welcome to pull a ZFS disk out of a Mac and plug it into a Solaris box. I pick the most appropriate file system available on the OS and move data with a network connection. Where is the limitation?

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Flocke Kroes
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CDDL and GPL not compatible

If the Trojans had looked their gift horse in the mouth, they would have found it was full of Greek soldiers. Likewise ZFS is stuffed with patents. It is not possible to simultaneously satisfy the terms of the GPL and CDDL in a single piece of software, in part because GPL would require a patent license that Sun/Oracle do not provide. You are welcome to get sued like a GIF user, but I will stick to GPL or compatible. BTW: pi's already have BTRFS.

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THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla

Flocke Kroes
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Daft labelling

My red food dye has "Artificial" and "Cochineal" in a big font on the label. I assume they put 'cochineal' on there to scare away anyone who knows what it is, and 'artificial' to scare away anyone who doesn't. If I had been a little less alert, I would have missed it because I was looking for something that did not contain E120.

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