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* Posts by John Deeb

211 posts • joined 3 Nov 2007

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German space centre endures cyber attack

John Deeb

"state sponsored"?

Puzzling how anyone at this stage could determine that these attacks are "state sponsored". Obviously there'd be a lively global trade in information which hackers and intelligence agents from all over the world might be involved in. But to scream "state sponsored" without some Snowden-scale leaking -- would likely be a tad primature.

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OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

John Deeb

health check?

What about a general FOSS project health check? For all core projects insist perhaps on a certain minimum amount of developers and reviewers, with some properly documented reviewing processes? Perhaps this is just about having some standards even when it's free and volunteer work. This is not about creating more overhead but about learning from mistakes and underlying causes in all the practises and work-flows. It hardly seems an incident, how many important libraries are maintained and minimally reviewed because of similar reasons?

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Cheat Win XP DEATH: Little-known tool to save you from the XPocalypse

John Deeb

Perhaps I missed something

Perhaps I missed something but isn't it way easier to install XP directly into the virtual machine instead of downloading the MS image and make it somehow work with Virtualbox or VMware? I know it was faster for me at the time to manually install XP than to use lets say the Windows 7 evaluation image.

It's hard to imagine serious businesses with only OEM licensing for XP but even so, there are still original and legal XP media and licenses for sale, no big effort to track one down.

I wonder now, would Windows PE 2004 or BartPE be a solution for some cases? Based on XP2 and for just running that one program it might just work. Yes, the licensing might be limited but aren't you actually recovering a malfunctioning OEM XP that way?

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John Deeb

Re: Once again...

Bob Camp, so much wrong in one post! Where to begin.

1. No, the host will generally not detect most viruses as they enter a NAT-ed XP client. Better to rely on solutions on the client to cover a broader scope.

2, No, the VM is not just as vulnerable since you must mentioned the NAT mode but also the ability to create snapshot and do restores faster, to strip functionality to bare bone and use the more secure host for more sensitive matters would differ quite lot.

3. You don't trust the average user with a VM but you trust them with a complete PC? Where's the logic? It still needs some level of support or management, obviously

4. The host does not need "functioning drivers" for everything at all and to know "which PC's" to keep a closer eye on" sounds not like a professional consideration. You will have to keep an eye on a lot of services, logs, rules and configuration, no matter in which box, virtual or not, they are stuffed.

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Win XP security deadline: Biz bods MUST protect user data – ICO

John Deeb

difference?

"Tuesday doesn't only mean increased risk from hackers exploiting vulnerabilities that will never be patched. It also creates a heightened data protection risk to businesses".

Maybe it's me but any supposed difference between vulnerabilities increasingly exploited by hackers and "heightened data protection risk" seems largely academic. It should have read perhaps: ..." this would include a heightened data protection risk to businesses and consumers".

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The... Windows... XPocalypse... is... NIGH

John Deeb

Pott: "There are lots of reasons why this isn't always possible – hardware dongles, the need to power proprietary hardware cards and so forth.."

Well, yeah, but lets take a step back here. If core business equipment is aged and there's no money and/or willingness to invest in serious replacements or upgrades of any kind, we're talking about a bigger, non-technical issue which will affect the production and security of such places in many ways.

So lets look at the situation where there's at least some will and financing available. There are enough PCI centronics or serial port cards for dongles which can be made available to the virtual machine. Having some ISA card to support? USB to ISA card adaptors do exist (eg Arstech) and drivers will be able to detect the redirected IRQ, DMA etc. The hardware costs are not the problem here but time for testing and troubleshooting might be. Especially for timing-sensitive equipment this solution might run into trouble though or as some report, for any non-plug&play cards. So what is being invested in is a supported solution and the work of an engineer to sort it out. But for mission critical equipment that cannot be replaced (yet), it seems worth a try.

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

John Deeb
Boffin

Sounds like emulation is the way to go here

Badly needing to run old software with out-dated requirements is a recurrent problem and often ends up with the same solution on a newer PC's. Just use the new machine's power to start-up some emulator which can emulate the whole stack, from OS, network to application. Strip the image from any other use and distribute or reload daily. This is how it's done in all the cases I encountered since the introduction of Windows 95 and NT as replacement of the old DOS (note: those machines would be safer controlled with non-scheduling DOS anyway). Configure the emulator as bridged interface and remove TCP/IP from the guest and the setup is safer than any "supported" XP config including some form of quick restore added as bonus.

But yeah, I wouldn't worry about XP "security" if firewall, LAN, malware scanning and user interactions can be controlled to a sufficient degree.

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Ubuntu N-ONE: 'Storage war' with Dropbox et al annihilates cloud service

John Deeb

Déjà Duped

One of the Nice things in Ubuntu was that they included since 11.10 as default a backup tool (deja dup) to schedule and backup stuff into their cloud, which seemed like a neat feature to offer this way. Nice and easy, what else to use that "cloud" thingy for? Bit of strange to announce by mail today that the service is to discontinue while suggesting to "download the files". Actually I'd prefer them to suggest or point out as well an alternative cloud storage for their own supplied default backup program. Or at least supply a hint which additional packages enable other backup services. You know, think with your customers, not against them. Ah well, sorted it out by now. I know, it's all free and DIY but I thought Ubuntu wanted to make money and appeal to simple folks as well. Pulling plugs on important services without much of any "now what" suggestions is not going to help with the old perception.

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Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

John Deeb

anti-virus update

" three machines all trying to do an anti-virus update at the same time the network slowed to a silly speed."

You need one machine to do the update and distribute it locally at a convenient or random time. This is how it was done in the times of lower bandwidth and still is done for sure when loads of PC's on a LAN are trying to update daily or even more while the files being nowadays rather chunky.

Not sure if non-enterprise clients or free versions have this option always. Otherwise it's scripting time!

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Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine

John Deeb

Re: El Reg toeing the line?

That's right. And it was already a stretch to call the Crimea "Ukraine" anyway--, in recent times or in the past since that would ignore so much history that it's almost funny. The current Russian "Anschluss" might not be the best move all in all but certainly it's a logical one. If autonomous regions actually should have the freedom to secede or declare whatever they like, that's a whole other question. Better not ask it to American history buffs though. Is there a "right of revolution" applicable here?

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Tokyo to TXT warning of incoming Norks nukes

John Deeb

Medium kills the radio act

Isn't a system like that a giant security hole in itself? Just imagine the amount of fake messages one could spread. The medium can be more dangerous than the "event" it claims to warn for! Brings me back to the 90's where it was too easy to freak out admins with a LAN or NCP message like: "WARNING: server is going down". Great fun to see the admin running by to the server room just because I was bored for one minute. Lesson learned: nobody takes a closer look at the originating address when in panic mode. Worked with email at times too. Dangerous games at the national level.

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Windows 8 BREAKS ITSELF after system restores

John Deeb

sadly

This exact issue happened to me while testing 8.1 enterprise. That was after having managed staying clear from Microsoft pipe dream products for many years now. And I'm cured again! Although I did actually wanted to use the Windows Phone 8 emulator and as well IE 11 for testing. After the "restore to hell" ended up installing it again with some backup snapshots as virtual machine on another machine (yes the free VMware player did play nice with Hyper-V after all). In the end my hatred has grown not weakened after playing around with it. All credit of Windows 7, which at least was not worse than XP, has been lost - again, in one fell swoop or is it bloop.

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GitHub probes worker's claims of hostile, sexist office culture

John Deeb

Stereotyping galore

The story itself provides enough stereotyping: yes, a woman bitching about another woman (the founder's wife) and indirectly sneering at the hooping girls for putting up a show for all the males in the office. She doesn't appears to realize why she was irritated by the setting at all and directs her anger at the audience, of all people. Remarkable! Without knowing much more this story it already has all the hallmarks of same-sex competition, jealousy and frustration. Possibly that founder's wife contributed her share of it but Horvath goes one step further: blaming all the men and the bosses. Yes, another stereotype! And probably her code was indeed reviewed to be substandard by a coder who might have behaved rather "feminine" in his vengefulness after having being brushed off by a woman who appears to have no insight in why she feels the way she does. But all the hysterical signs are certainly there. Luckily many women are above these self-defeating games.

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Ghostwriter: Assange™ is NARCISSISTIC and UNTRUTHFUL

John Deeb

Re: @Psyx Wow

Ian Michael Gumby: "Assange didn't want to talk about his own personal life, yet wanted a world with no secrets".

"No secrets" - which you just made up or perhaps stretched your tiny fragment of knowledge on the subject out of proportion so immensely that it fits your twisted view on reality. Like most people who read the cliff notes and go online to talk about the book.

Anyway, checking for spies, assassins or abductors after pissing off a nation capable of tracking you down doesn't seem paranoid to me? Unless one just ignores what high ranking people were saying in the US media at the time. Not to mention that there was eventually disclosed that there was a (secret) Grand Jury Investigation running at the time with unknown authority and scope. People with an estimated lesser threat level had been picked up the street in Italy by the CIA only a few years earlier.

But the fact is that we have only a self-promoting ghost-writer’s word what Assange meant when he said "assassins". How serious was this? Was it including other possibilities? Would he really inform his ghost-writer what he was checking for there exactly? Of course these questions require some thought which the subject "Assange" rarely contains these days. All we have left is the rumor mill of disappointed friends and lovers...

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John Deeb

Snakes and Ladders

After reading the piece in LRB, which is interesting, it also shows, especially towards the end that Andrew O' Hagan keeps inserting an awful lot of hindsight opinion and personal interpretation in there without much to back it up. Andrew might very well be another self-styled part-time suck-up friend Julian leans so much on for support and understanding.

Like when he was obscenely "betrayed" by two of his Swedish girlfriend-supporters, he keeps getting shafted by people running for their own glory or attention and rewriting and re-interpreting a lot of details of any dealing with him. One would think the message in the Swedish affair would be clear enough. And yes, Julian might be seeking and basking in the attention but he's rather brilliant in the big picture: while his suck-ups, not that much. Perhaps this is a wake-up call for Julian: pay more attention to your direct environment, the people you let organize your life and wash your clothes and dishes. It's not just the far away "system" you are combating but the systems of trust and secrets in your own sphere are another battle ground and your greatest weakness: you're losing out again and again in naïve neglectful behaviour. What a tragic!

Best way forward for him would be to, as even Andreas suggests, to sever the link between governmental persecution of Wikileaks and any betrayal or attacks from his friends and (former) supporters. It's perhaps wiser to understand the power of secrets when it comes to his own cohesion and sanctuary. Now instead all the trouble he's in are fundamentally personal troubles, results of not being able to control a private self in a private life. The rude wake-up call of the fact that one cannot trust government in the same way as one cannot trust supporters, friends or sometimes one's own self.

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Boffins: You'll see, TWITTERNET! We'll get the TRUTH out of you...

John Deeb

but there's no problem

Sounds like a text book case of trying to solve a problem which doesn't exist. Or in this case, to think of ways to structure and organize a medium which exists only because of its lack of usual hierarchical structure and artifices of quality selection. All these things take time and a lot of subjective context. And it's not like algorithms would be trusted by crowds to add fairness. Otherwise the same technology could way easier be used for blogs and newspapers (more context there usually). But the solution for all that is called "common sense" although crowds in the midst of revolutions are not known for it.

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Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

John Deeb

Re: There was nothing wrong with the Wii

Completely agreed, hammarbtyp! My interest died down because just having Kart, Sports, Fit, Super Mario and Kirby's adventure was not enough. As you said, Kart should have had some follow-up, the WiFit should have way more engaging content and the controllers were indeed not finished it seemed. It almost seemed they overextended themselves and lost valuable time to ride out the whole wave. The other consoles gained the momentum and with their power could also cater the more serious player, who drive the real market. The casual player (me) is not a very interesting target really, unless you can hook me.

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'The Mystery of the Martian Doughnut' solved by NASA sleuths

John Deeb

Here it is (pdf). The article contains 25 photographs of various candidates of algae, fungi, and lichens on Mars. It's tricky though, attempting science from interpreting photographs and just on some personal title. The only defence I could think of is that at least these type of life forms would be expected, if any complex biology would be there. And they would battle for available water and perhaps pop up on the track of the rover. Sadly enough nobody predicted that ahead of time. Post-priori is all too easy...

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John Deeb

Then again, if it's a type of fungus you'd expect it to pop up elsewhere in similar shape and chemical composition, especially at places you stirred up the surface and (perhaps) some fleeting captured moisture. Not only rocks roll down hill, you know?

It's not that I don't believe NASA but to really falsify any fungus speculation, just release the definite spectrometry so other scientists can determine it to be a dry rock mass of some kind using the numbers. But just to show another weird rock shape and suppose "origination" is not really scientific sounding.

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PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

John Deeb

Pssst

Here I was, hoping to read a retrospective on the classic 1983 ZX Spectrum arcade game Pssst* but all I got was mumbo jumbo on Microsoft penitence...

(*not to be confused with Pssssst, the instant spray shampoo...)

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Apple's Hacker Princess dumps fruity firm for Elon Musk's Tesla

John Deeb

Re: Interesting, but

AC: "Generally it is fairly unusual for girls to be into hardware hacking, but that's down to society and gender stereotyping more than anything."

Yes and the exact mechanics of society and stereotyping is down to... well, here your political correct statement leaves the realm of certainties and enters various social and biological theorizing and uncertain experimenting on the topic. In the mean while we can just retain as fairly common observational fact the first half of your statement that it's: "fairly unusual for girls to be into hardware hacking". Therefore the information on her being transsexual is mildly relevant.

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Want to remotely control a car? $20 in parts, some oily fingers, and you're in command

John Deeb

obligated conspiracy model

The question comes to mind if it would be already out in the wild, like a range of custom miniature radio-controlled devices, tapping into engine controls to cause car accidents with complete deniability. The police would not recognize these bits as being foreign to the rest of the car electronics. Hmmm did the Mercedes W140 (1997) engine control unit had any access points?

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Is modern life possible without a smartphone?

John Deeb

Monastry doesn't help either in such cases

The article reads more like suggesting a monastery as solution to some worldly problem while learning some self-restrain and impulse control might be all one needs. Just admit first to the addictive element of "checking" or the lure of playing with the ever-ready toy in your pocket -- just get in control over the energy you spend on the thing. But it doesn't seem to be worth all the added frustration of trying to do online work on some pseudo-online half-assed device. It's like hiding cigarettes on a hard to reach place. In the end you're going to get them, it won't help the fixation one bit!

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Sinclair's ZX Spectrum to LIVE AGAIN!

John Deeb

Re: Promise the world

JohnnyGStrings, sadly most game developers still do not get any "revenue royalties". It depends on what kind of deal was signed but it's not some automatic right we're talking here. Although you could argue you do still own the source code if that wasn't specified in contract either. My guess is that would be what the court case would have to center on. You still might have tried to start one and settle as most cases do not reach the expensive court for good reason. You need a good arrangement with a lawyer though.

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Facebook debunks Princeton's STUDY OF DOOM in epic comeback

John Deeb
Boffin

But Facebook is not a historic institution, more likely a disease

Facebook geeks are still making a fundamental mistake with their (tongue in cheek) attempt to discredit the Princeton prediction about Facebook. The methodology as used by Princeton works mainly for studying the spread of infectious diseases or ideas and therefore makes the assumption that Facebook acts more like an idea than an institution and a such it would end up having the same kind of demise.

The error of the Facebook rebuttal is to liken Facebook to an institution like a world class university (what modesty!) and dismiss the notion Facebook would be akin to a virus or as vapid as an "idea". Facebook believes, naturally, that they are about real connections and services being provided.

The idea under scrutiny is probably the one of "being connected on-line to my friends, families and lovers" but is Facebook justified to think they can keep the idea like "Facebook is the best way to maintain these connections" alive? Not before they can become a distinguished institution, I'm afraid, something that cannot be replaced by a new collection of cool upstarts that easily.

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Ex-NSA guru builds $4m encrypted email biz - but its nemesis right now is control-C, control-V

John Deeb

Re: Let me point the obvious:

It would be very annoying if text couldn't be copied to and from documents or other emails. Perhaps it's just me but that's what I tend to do especially with important exchanges. And lets just imagine hitting reply and saving as draft. Who controls now the content of your draft?

That said, if the security is just about sending certain attached documents (and as such having clear message boundaries, the mail body is then just a separate document but conceptually not "email" anymore!) the system could become way more simple: the attached document or its keys will be stored externally and needing online verification to open. In combination with watermarking some authentication of that document might be possible since copy/past and taking picture or screenshots won't get the watermark or other embedded keys out. Which is a more interesting and common concern than any authorization to read it, at least to the general user.

Of course there are already many systems like that. Generally sensitive documents are not transmitted "as is" over the public network anyway or with raising awareness people will eventually stop doing that at least. The risk of sending it to the wrong people by mistake is itself already way higher and happening way more often than any snooping and hacking.

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John Deeb

Just making things difficult is not solving it

All I read is "we're going to make email way more difficult for ordinary users". As such, this will remain a niche product, by design! Not sure if the creators realize it though. A company really shouldn't be the one to supply these features which just seem bolted onto a limiting infrastructure. It should be added to mail protocols and gateways (like X400 implementations attempted). Managing and using those was already difficult for the relatively more computer savvy email users in the 90's. It's not going to be easier now.

And yes, it's waiting for the external plug-ins to backup these sensitive mails before they expire or get revoked by a compromised account. A product like this cannot control all the layers and applications and they should not even try as security becomes quickly obscurity that way.

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

John Deeb
Trollface

Better communication next time, Linus! (again)

And all that because Mr Torvalds did not deny clearly enough having added NSA back-doors when asked about it. Now the Chinese want their own opportunity to say one thing and move their head not accordingly.

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Rosetta comet chaser due to wake up for final rendezvous on Monday

John Deeb
Boffin

Mission and craft is ESA, not NASA...

It would have helped to mention in the article that the mission and the probe is really only ESA's: paid by, designed by, launched by and operated by.....However NASA does provide support to various degrees for a couple of instruments and covers a part of the deep space tracking network. Instrument scientists at both organization might be anxious but it pales by the stakes ESA has in the functioning of the spacecraft and probe itself.

Send a reporter to the live event this Monday!

http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/esalive

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MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

John Deeb

The LRAC of ownership including electricity, maintenance and administration of the park might outweigh the harvest. Even if not, as another poster already wrote, supplying the gear is the more reliable and stable market. And a business has to think a few years ahead, usually, depending on how the initial costs were being paid for (eg investors).

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Coca Cola slurps millions of MAC addresses

John Deeb

Re: Technical/Numerical question

MAC is not used any more as correct term but EUI-48 would run out probably somewhere this century but the latest EUI-64 not likely (see also IPv6). And it's not just for Ethernet but for identification (not authentication) of equipment or as part of some protocol in general.

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Ubuntu desktop is so 2013... All hail 2014 Ubuntu mobile

John Deeb

Re: "Does this mean Linux gets a real chance on mobile?"

Yes, I know it's an open debate with arguments either way but really.

The Android kernel is still significantly different from the Linux kernel in terms of architecture changes.

To even just run on most devices you need OEM crap or even some port just for x86.

Linux kernel <> Linux operating system (GNU/Linux).

Android is not a Linux distro just as much as any custom or embedded mod is not a distro. Next thing people will say OS X is a FreeBSD distribution....

So yes the article is right to ask ""Does this mean Linux gets a real chance on mobile?"

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Silk Road 2.0 busted! At least two arrests as federal crackdown begins

John Deeb

Ultimate honey trap not likely but...

It would be impressive to have Silk 2.0 being operated by the Feds as ultimate honey trap. But more likely they use social media to get the idea out there of those markets being unsafe and risky. Which of course they are but they want to exaggerate that aspect so one can expect to see these news items in greater sequence appearing to drive the point home. Not sure it will work though, people often go by a trusted word of mouth to determine if it's doable or not. Not some online statement here or there.

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Women crap at parking: Official

John Deeb
Boffin

Delusions of Gender

It would be interesting to hear Cordelia Fine's opinion on the matter. In her book Delusions of Gender she makes an interesting and well researched case against the methods of many neuroscientists and their brain scanning interpretations (as well as their "spotlight-floodlight dichotomy"). She takes Ruben Gur as one example and pokes quite some fun at the rather childish presumptions in place at times.

These types of brain experiments seem pretty useless in isolation as long as they don't take into account earlier development years. Now one can still not prove what is exactly nurture and what is nature.

Also I'm in doubt if the floodlight or multi-tasking as described is actually such useful mode in practise. No doubt you can notice women being observant, conversant and working at the same time but it doesn't seem a quality in their favour really....

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

John Deeb

EMP option?

How-to for EMP weapon stunningly accessible

The usual DIY ray guns won't provide the required range AFAIK. Perhaps the 300 Megawatts EMP150 would do the trick? As a bonus you can take out all kinds of electronic annoyances in your vicinity. Pricey and not available for consumers though.

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El Reg Contraption Confessional No.1: The Dragon 32 micro

John Deeb

Sharp MZ-720 threat

Now I feel the urge to get my Sharp MZ-720 out of the basement, so unloved, unused and unfitted with any OS no to mention any BASIC (you have to load it all first). Cool for CP/M though.

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World's first selfie found on Wayback Machine

John Deeb

Production

All classical forces of production finally cumulating in the production - naturally - of self itself. This selfie reflects intriguingly the nature of the beast but it's really more about producing "self" through the accumulated interactions and the socializing. It's the Social producing itself through net-work: expressed often as individual displays but the means of production remain sharing & responding to image and vibe.

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If this doesn't terrify you... Google's computers OUTWIT their humans

John Deeb

Re: Not sure this is so impressive, and this is dangerous...

Unless the Googler gasping: "Wow" was not familiar with evolutionary computation, the gasp was probably about the observed fact that the AI did a way better job recognizing shredders than humans currently could, discovering combinations of features we would not even consider adding to the algorithm.. But hey, aren't humans supposed to have this "notion" and would have always the edge in knowing the difference with the garbage can?

The question rises if human "notions" are that much different than massive clustering and classification combined with some evolutionary adaptation from neurological networks.

The problem I see with all AI effort is the parsing of CONTEXT. To determine properly meaning and function some minimal grasp of the context or object environment needs to be there. As well subtext, history and expectation (future projection). Only then proper recognition with all the flexibilities, uncertainties and probabilities of real life could happen. Sadly enough it will also introduce bias that way. For the same reason AI translation might not work on the highest level since meanings are transmitted through various complex contextual layers and not through words. Then again, on a massive scale of processing a lot of stuff could still be achieved, although it might remain a rather low level of intelligence: as life is played on many chessboards at the same time, I think it would need a manifold of the nurturing and educating of just one human mind for it to ever be crowned overlord (or even basic "competent").

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Fukushima fearmongers: It's YOUR FAULT Japan DUMPED CO2 targets

John Deeb

Inconventient facts

Lewis forgets to mention a few inconvenient "facts".

1. The 30 billion dollar clean-up operation: which other type of industrial accidents needs that in the electricity generating sector? Okay, apart from oil spills.

2. What is the suffering and mortality rate of the evacuation itself? No any other energy related accident has shown those type of numbers (look them up, you won't hear them from Lewis his bubble)

3. How many people will actually be allowed to go back over time? It seems right now that more than 10,000 people will be permanently displaced, robbed of everything familiar and historical to them. Which other accidents in other industries causes these things in the developed world?

Then again, Lewis is correct in suggesting we need the nuclear industry when cutting carbon emissions is desired while still wanting to juicing up the rest of the world to decent minimum levels....

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I want NSA chief's head on a plate for Merkelgate, storms Senator McCain

John Deeb

Fly o boy

Mccain: ".... then you believe that pigs can fly".

Then again, Mccain flew as fighter pilot... all bets are off!

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YouTube co-founder either HATES Google+ or his vid account just got HACKED

John Deeb

another why

Why the fuck would anyone upload a video from a fucking zoo anywhere?

So little internet logic, so many questions...

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How Google paved the way for NSA's intercepts - just as The Register predicted 9 YEARS AGO

John Deeb

Any sufficiently large system will end up being invasive.

Dowser's Law: any sufficiently large system will end up being invasive.

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Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

John Deeb

Or why your children are spoiled...

The best way to get to any fundamentals of programming or dare I say its bastard child advanced system administration, is to have been exposed to an environment where scarcity is the rule. Scarcity in resources like manuals, supplier advice, coding examples, search engine hints, all knowing colleagues but also severe limits on memory, storage, processing power, budgets to get more of those, customer patience, customer understanding, nurturing management and so on.

Only in such environments -- and they were the standard in the 80's and most of the 90's -- will "forge" the steel, train the intuition and deepen understanding as one is forced to almost literally discover the wheel again at times. Some would call that a waste of time but to come up with the concept of wheel by yourself can be the priceless understanding of a very basic form. Just copying it over might result in putting wheels on the wrong kind of vehicles.

So this why your kids can't program: you're giving them too much to work with... no survival skills at all.

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BETHLEHEM-grade SUPERNOVA possible 'within 50 years'

John Deeb

No three & no kings

From the article: " ... guided the Three Kings"

There were three kinds of GIFTS in the original story (see any gospel translation) but not three kings. The account only mentions an unknown amount of "Magi" (wise men, pilgrims, astronomers?). Although the imaginary number and title became part of the church tradition and art representations, it has no actual base and is also not used in Cardinal Ratzinger's book to which the article referred in the same sentence.

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Want to keep the users happy? Don't call them users for a start

John Deeb

Do not trust but don't dismiss either

101 : "Never trust the user".

Understandable but not the best advice. In real life and more complex environments a reported problem is not just the plain description of an error or a determined failure of a task. In those environments with regular intervals serious problems occur which cannot just be replicated at will. If it was so easy, we're not talking about "dragons" to slay but more young kittens to play with. Such helpdesk will be replaced by robots tomorrow.

My advice would be not to dismiss the reported problem just because it cannot be instantaneously replicated or there aren't any error messages which can be looked up. The art here is to determine what the best follow-up might be. Asking the right questions in the right way (some psychological insight might be handy) could reveal quick enough in which category the problem falls (just user imagination or a serious issue like being hacked).

Time pressure might put some limits on the approach above. And yet you have to use some spider sense to make the judgement call and at least try to explain to the one reporting the problem which information is needed, let them take note of times, circumstances while letting them start thinking about their own report. Sometimes you can almost literally see the fog lift and not just a problem but also a suggested explanation will be given to you by the same person, client, user, bugger or lets just call them "security risks"...

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I am a recovering Superwoman wannabee

John Deeb

The Need for Validation

It's interesting that superwoman still needed "permission" from Sheryl Sandberg's book before becoming more at ease and "leaning back" a bit. This seems to be the big difference between feminine and masculine (stereotypical) characters at work: the male "takes" the ease when deemed appropriate and leans back and doesn't worry (much) about perceptions even when competition is there. While the problem I see with building on the advice from peers and books is that it might still mask the bigger problem: to remain so dependent on sub-textual validation from ones environment and peers before deciding if something is appropriate to do or not, if enough is done or not. This needs to grow out of your own "balls", so to speak. That would be real gender liberation at the work floor, in my opinion. So not what Sandberg would do but what you would do.

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

John Deeb

programming vs coding

"Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair."

Foxton is right, although it's unclear if he's aware how right he is. People should generally learn programming which is similar to thinking, analysing, applying logic and common sense. But the actual coding is really closer to something mechanical as it's possible to create unbelievable skilful code without addressing the problem more effectively than many other solutions. Endless tinkering, self-indulgance, and so on are very common with car repairs as well code monkeys. Or somethings the code doesn't even need to be made at all. A limited exposure to coding is good but it's not the main thing you want the general populace to sink their baby teeth in.

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Alarming tales: What goes on INSIDE Reg hack's hi-tech bedroom

John Deeb

try your body clock

Whatever the alarm, I always wake up a few minutes before it goes off, nearly every time. Problem solved! At some point I even didn't bother to set it any more although the act of setting seems to tune it better.

But if it would go off, it would be just some quiet radio station. If you need more I think you just don't sleep enough hours or you're living out of sync. The body has its own clock, surprisingly precise actually. Temperature, blood pressures, digestion, all on the clock if not drained of battery juice! If you can arrange a somewhat regular life (eg fixed dinner hours, caffeine restraint, etc) that same clock will wake you up on time if one goes also to bed more or less on time. And without filling the late evening with bright screens or other activating stuff!

The remaining problem then is not your alarm clock but your ADHD lifestyle :)

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Assange: 'Ecuadorian embassy staff are like my family'

John Deeb

Re: Deluded

FunkyGibbon: "I'd quite like to be arrested for making a false accusation and spend the rest of my life vilified by other women for making up a claim that I'd been raped thus causing doubt for the next person who comes forward."

That might actually happen and many women already did vilify these women for escalating something that would not be even a punishable or fine-able offence in the rest of the civilized world. Morally wrong from Assange, possibly, disgusting behaviour, perhaps, but it's not a crime or offence and should never become one because of the "slippery, very slippery slopes" involved. Certainly not something risking a final trip to the US for! Which remains a very real scenario for anyone with the ability to read and comprehend what's actually written on various legal documents published by US authorities. As it happens Assange and his team can read and understand international law and practice but most of his armchair critics just glance and have opinions instead.

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John Deeb

courtyard

There's a courtyard where Julian get aired as well. Quite possibly it's used for the drill or at least it's allowed to use it for staff.Or they could make Julian safety officer and let him decide :)

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