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* Posts by John H Woods

1402 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Cleversafe CEO: We would tell you about the 8TB drive, but...

John H Woods
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Re: genome...

Human genome is about 3 Giga bases - four possible values for a base (A,C,G,T) so that's about 6 Gigabits without compression. Amusingly, that's about the same capacity as a CD! I'd expect an 8TB disk to hold the genome of at least 10,000 people - maybe 100,000 or a million with clever compression.

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Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins

John H Woods
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The only thing I missed on my B was ...

... a reset switch. Eventually I put a push-to-break in the USB power cable, ugly but functional.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

John H Woods
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Re: The Vagenda ...

The Vagenda isn't man-hating - it's one of the reasons I love it. It's acerbic sometimes, funny and generally inclusive. Even this quote isn't from one of the authors - it's a quote from her (male) friend, whilst the article in which it appears "Running with Wolf Whistles" is actually very positive about the men the author has encountered whilst pounding the pavement.

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John H Woods
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The Vagenda ...

... my favourite feminist blog, contained this pearl recently:

"if IT engineers had to do their work in the middle of the pavement, where we could all see their screens and hear their conversations, we’d quickly stop thinking of builders as the worst misogynists in the village"

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Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

John H Woods
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US Coffee

Whenever I have visited, I have been amazed how weak most USians drink their coffee - mainly because they are always going on about how they like it strong and black. Back when I was an academic, we had a visiting US professor who, arriving and complaining of jet lag, asked for "a really strong black coffee". My fellow post-doc, a coffee aficionado even amongst his own Portuguese compatriots, took him at his word and cooked up a 1oz espresso in a mini-bialetti on the lab hotplate.

I will never forget that prof's face as he took a sip! He asked if it could be put in a mug of boiling water and, once it was, he expressed enormous satisfaction with it, and said he had learned a valuable lesson about European coffee!

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John H Woods
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Acidity ...

... if you want less acidity, maybe stay away from the acid coffees (good Kenya AA is so acid it usually curdles any milk added). My personal pref is espresso, I have a bodge-repaired, 14 year old Gaggia that has made >=4 cups a day.

One little hint I found useful for Cona and filter coffee that is standing around - shove a cardamom pod in the filter basket. Gives a nice fragrance and seems to counteract the staling effect. Particularly good for a big after dinner (especially curry!) pot that will be drunk during hours of pointless postprandial persiflage.

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True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS

John H Woods
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Re: Infographic Fail

They've quietly changed it.

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Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state

John H Woods
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Ah, I see ...

It's called the Goondas Act to reflect its authorship, rather than its intent.

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iPhone owners EARN MORE THAN YOU, says mobile report

John H Woods
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In other news ...

... drivers of more expensive cars tend to be in a higher income bracket than those who drive similarly functional vehicles with a less premium brand. Puzzling.

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

John H Woods
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Re: More than Outlook

So you need to go contracting put infrequently used / low user count windows-only software on a few VMs or specific servers, and let the users who use it connect via RDP. You don't need a whole new ecosystem for a small number of use cases.

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Tricked by satire? Get all your news from Facebook? You're in luck, dummy

John H Woods
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I can't work out ...

... whether this is serious or not

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

John H Woods
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Re: It's all down to the stupid....

Why not just have this list as part of your complexity rules. In addition to your complexity rules, why not just have a list of (hashes of) forbidden passwords? I reckon the best possible strategy is to allow users to choose anything but to regularly run password crackers on your own user database. Anyone whose password is cracked has to change it.

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Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'

John H Woods
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Re: I'm more impressed

Well, I upvoted. And I've also added DrXym to my "NEVER DOWNVOTE" list.

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Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users LOCKED OUT

John H Woods
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Re: Why trust any third party?

d3rrial: "why not use "considerdollarbaseready fARSEbook" as password directly instead of hashing it first? It's not like you're adding anything to the password, that would make it safer, by hashing it"

Theoretically, of course, you are right. Practically, however:

  • some sites don't encrypt passwords (or may have compromised certs) - I don't want to compromise my master password
  • some sites limit password length: (a) the first 16 chars of the hash contain more entropy than the first characters of the password; and (b) all sites which use <=24 chars would have the same password, which I'm trying to avoid
  • some sites "enforce quality" which in practice means a minimum length and certain characters. By using base 64 (and tr where necessary) I can meet these rules without having to use those symbols or numbers in my master password (which, for any given length, reduces its memorability).

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John H Woods
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Re: Lastpass

AC: "I thought TrueCrypt was recently busted wide open?"

It's not quite as simple as that; version 7.1a might be fine :-)

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John H Woods
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Why trust any third party?

I wouldn't trust a third party with my passwords, but I hadn't even considered availability!

I'm sure there's more elegant ways of doing it, but you could reuse a reasonably secure but memorable password with a memorable nickname for the site you need it for, e.g.:

echo -n 'considerdollarbaseready fARSEbook' | sha256sum - | base64 | cut -c -24 | head -1

MDlkNDIwNGZiZTNlOGI1NmQ5

As long as you have a shell and some standard utils, you can reconstruct the password.

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Google leaves STUPID vuln on Nest devices

John H Woods
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"Block them at the firewall"

... until these type of IoT devices start shipping with their own SIM cards :-(

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Crypto Daddy Phil Zimmerman says surveillance society is DOOMED

John H Woods
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Re: A flaw in his argument

"addresses need to be assigned to physical locations, and even mobile phones need to talk to towers, metadata can be gathered, stored, and analysed, if deemed necessary. This is surveillance, and encryption will not help against it." --- TFM Reader.

Encryption can help against it, for instance, I can post the following AES256 encrypted text here:

ZQN+xEcBITAhITAhLR0+Us1QcS6pEiExNjAhEkJoHOJpLa8k9eT27QS+i2cjpcVXcMkt5ZgXV5qEIrbBcjmlD1jrGS3lSA58Zs9ut4Z64X/dBLN5LfwuN51uqGhS0di/oyEwIWk=

Quite a few people are going to see that, but only the people who know the password are going to be able to read it. So the mechanics of using encryption to obscure metadata can be relatively simple: you can broadcast encrypted messages to a wide group of people including your receiver, but in a form that only they will understand (numbers stations seem to have been doing this for decades).

Of course, the legality of it is something else. In the UK, as I understand it, having this message in your browser cache, and being unable to produce the key when asked, could result in you receiving an effectively infinite prison sentence, served out in 2 year chunks. In the short term, I can spare you this ("password") but in the longer term that legislation needs to be removed. That gets us back to the real problem - how to get people engaged.

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ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water

John H Woods
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Re: So, the Empire starts in Australia

+ space elevator so we can get all that stuff up out of the gravity well ...

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Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE

John H Woods
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Re: or you could go even more downmarket...

John 110>> I also have to confess an sneaky liking for MacDonald's coffee

It's certainly hard to beat for the price. I set up all day in a local MacD once - they arranged a power socket for me and provided waiter service. When I gave them a tip they put it in the charity box!

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Tiny transforming bots: Meet these self-assembling 'thoughtful' droids

John H Woods
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Link

video appears to be here

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BBC man Linwood 'was unfairly sacked' over £100 MILLION DMI omnifail

John H Woods
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Siemens firing is ...

... a high-tech job blow.

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Microsoft OneDrive tip-off leads to arrest over child abuse images

John H Woods
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Re: Dunno what you can say except...

I agree. I think the privacy people would be happier if they had a better understanding of the process - unlike with the NSA dragnet, this is not about permanent records being kept forever, or your email / cloud storage being scanned for anything and everything. It's a simple pattern search for known illegal content, followed by the appropriate actions being taken for a positive match

We really do need pro-privacy organisations, but - or rather therefore - they must be very careful not to put themselves in a position where they look like they are protecting criminals.

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Love in the time of the GPS sees chap propose with Google Map

John H Woods
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Re: Contrived. Probably by Endomondo.

Article explains that she said yes straight away, and tracked her response later as a formality...

At dinner that evening, he confessed that he had taken the afternoon off work and gone for a bike ride without her. He then shared the link to the Endomondo workout and asked her to look at it on her phone. She looked at her screen, immediately saw the message and after getting over the surprise, gave him her answer…”of course!”

For the record, she tracked her response later on too: [map deleted]

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

John H Woods
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Re: Can someone please explain

"This behaviour is tolerated because most technical managers aren't sufficiently technical that I'd let them program my TiVo."

Indeed - the problem is that, however much we like to think it, IT isn't generally a profession - it's a job. You can't practice law, medicine, accountancy or electrical contracting without appropriate qualification / certification. Surely it's about time that people developing (and I include their managers) internet-facing systems which contain personal data are properly regulated.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

John H Woods
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Re: Why Special Treatment for Utility Suppliers?

The other problem is that if you believe you are within your rights to refuse to pay, they won't take you to court where you can make a case and perhaps defeat them, but hand it direct to debt collectors, who will harass you and record bogus info on your credit record, making your life hell.

It seems to me just like extortion, "if you don't pay this money now [...]it could make it impossible for you to ever get a mortgage".

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Grabby baddie scours Paddy Power's towers: 650k punters leaked and it took 4 years to admit it

John H Woods
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New definiton:

disappointing (adj). utterly negligent, but within the remit of the Data Protection Commissioner, and as a result considered harmless, despite any indications to the contrary.

These disasters, and I am not over-exaggerating, are *always* the result of poor management choices - not enough spent on devs, pen testers, QA etc. because they can simply totally disrespect their customers and get off scot free.

It is not "disappointing" it is fscking well bordering on criminal levels of misfeasance.

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PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

John H Woods
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Re: The Reviewer is Great

>> I always move the Taskbar to the side on widescreens

Me too - you can also make it fairly wide without losing usable space, meaning that you can actually see enough of the window titles to know what each taskbar button is. Useful if you have more than 1 window of the same type (RDP, MS-Word, etc) open.

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iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple

John H Woods
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Well ...

We use cheques moderately often. You can give them to kids for birthdays and xmas, especially if you're posting. You can give them to the farrier, the (equine) dentist, the (equine) back expert and the yard manager. I'm guessing it's about amounts - a tradesman who's going to bill between a few hundred and a grand a day probably doesn't want that knocking around in his van/home all week.

In fact, I don't even like having 100 on me in cash, and none of the aforementioned people are set up to take card payments, so it's often the best option. Not to mention the fact you can always say "I don't suppose you could hold that and cash it next week?"

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Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage

John H Woods
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Re: Ahh.. I remember

I still have that situation: my work phone, on the No-2 Notwork, will ring whilst I am at my SOHO desk, but to get satisfactory call quality I have to run upstairs to the bedroom to answer it.

Result: being rather to the left on the fat--fit spectrum, when I'm working at home, I'm always out of breath when I answer my phone. Then they ask me to look at a mail they've sent me and I say "oh, my laptop's downstairs, let me run down and get it ..."

I wonder what my clients / colleagues / boss must think.

. . . John

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MH17 -- SA-11 / BUK complexity

John H Woods
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@small cog

thank you very much, this is certainly food for thought.

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John H Woods
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MH17 -- SA-11 / BUK complexity

Hi all,

I keep reading that it is unlikely a rebel group could have used this system to brink down MH17 without 'expert help' - presumably the Russians,

Now, I have no idea, but is this true? My military expertise is limited to taking out a few tanks with a Javelin on CoD4, so I have no idea. Are Javelins really that easy to use? Although I would think not, I am tempted to assume that many of these weapons are as easy to use as possible - no time to RTFM in a war. And I generally think that the complexity of a system does not always make it harder to use, often the reverse, because the whole purpose of the complexity in some cases is to assist the human operator.

Can anyone enlighten me? Or amusingly ridicule my naivety in the comments? Thanks in advance.

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Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

John H Woods
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May not work for you but ...

... I suffered with some back pain - clearly not anything like as bad as some of the unfortunate commentards above - and found only one thing that helped me (which may, of course, be a placebo):

an inversion table. Got it in ASDA for 50 smackers. Looks like a bit of bondage equipment (in fact my wife humiliated me and amused the entire aisle by loudly announcing "Honey, we aren't going to be using that for what you think we're going to be using it for").

Adjust to fit your height, step on (you might need an attractive assistant to start with), fasten your ankles in and rotate. You can start off just very slightly past horizontal and build up to hanging fully from your ankles if you want to go all the way (only a minute or so). I used to get off feeling an inch taller and suddenly pain free, as if it had just been switched off. And I say used to, because now I don't use it at all, as I no longer feel the need.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

John H Woods
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Re: WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

Ridiculous argument. When you spot a pickpocket, you know you've witnessed a crime. When you spot someone reading El Reg on a tablet, you don't know that you have. Although I'm almost sure there will be some legislation along shortly to correct that ...

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John H Woods
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Re: I have to defend the police here...

I don't buy your defence. Surely if the police are to be allowed the authority to send out letters about WiFi hotspots they should have someone who is either

a) aware of the FON service

b) aware of the Google service.

I see so many instances of failure of (b) - people stuck at the unconscious incompetence state of knowledge - they know so little that they little know how little they know. Recent example: an MP's claim that the "writing is too small" in Office 365.

As it is, without a clarification about the FON service, the letter is misleading and a waste of public money - now THAT should be an offence.

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Games industry set for $5 BILLION haircut, warn beancounters

John H Woods
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Real Life

"I went outside once. The graphics were awesome but the gameplay was terrible"

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

John H Woods
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My favorite pointless distracting matrix sign ...

Signs like "M1 closed after A456"

I know the junction I'm getting off at; I know roughly how far away that is; I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of all British Roads. The only way I'd know anything about the A456 is possibly if it was the road I was taking at the junction I was coming off at.

So "M1 closed in xx miles" or "M1 closed after Jxx" please.

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US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account

John H Woods
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Re: What is the point of a warrant?

>> So with encrypted traffic either party can decrypt it, or its no good.

Not sure you meant to put that ... only the receiver has to be able to decrypt it. If they find a mail from me to you in my "SENT" folder and the content is encrypted with your public key (and I wasn't dumb enough to keep the plaintext), the only record of the content retrievable without the private key is what I (claim to) remember sending you.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

John H Woods
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>>Bear in mind this is a US study. US cars are mostly automatic and therefore easier to drive.

... and a lot of their lanes are two cars wide! Should have seen the face of a US colleague when I was driving him down a country lane and a car came the other way. "What?" he shouted, "this is a one way road!" I assured him it wasn't but he really couldn't understand how a road only wide enough for one vehicle could have two-way traffic.

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

John H Woods
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Re: Probably not that big a probe needed

>>Targeting it so it goes right down the pipe is likely to be pretty tricky however.

Probably have to turn off the targeting computer on final approach.

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Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON

John H Woods
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Message Garbled ...

... what he actually* said was "Good luck, Mr Gorsky".

* FSVO actually

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

John H Woods
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Negativity?

Actually, it is sheer stupidity to use nickel in an item that is going to be in prolonged skin contact; jewelers have known this for years. Remember, we're talking premium product here, so there's no excuse.

As for the negativity, there was barely a mention of what happened at WWDC because it was extremely boring - if you think there was 'genuinely interesting tech news' at this conference, please - just tell me what it was, because I must have slipped into a coma during all the self-congratulatory emptiness.

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Female! ex-Yahoo! coder! says! female! boss! fired! her! for! refusing! sex!

John H Woods
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Sexual harassment?

... sounds more like sexual assault to me.

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UK.gov warned: Small biz bods 'blunted' by broadband bumbling

John H Woods
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Re: Obvious reason is obvious...

I've heard of a businesses in a local industrial park using a microwave link to the home of a conveniently located employee to get round BT's apparent habit of holding SMBs to ransom regarding connectivity. Not sure how that plays with the Ts&Cs but it does look like there's a bit of mickey taking going on, so I can't blame them.

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'The writing is TOO SMALL': MPs row over Parliamentary move to Office 365

John H Woods
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relative degrees of shamefulness ...

Not knowing how to zoom -- a little bit shameful.

Not even suspecting that zooming is possible -- a little bit more shameful.

Speaking authoritatively as if zooming isn't possible -- breathtaking!

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The final score: Gramophones 1 – Glassholes 0

John H Woods
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Re: So right about the record player.

>>map data was built in and didn't need a data connection.

Check out OSMAnd, it's surprisingly good.

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LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

John H Woods
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Re: Patent This!

"Volumetric Displays" where a screen rotates (often illuminated by laser) already exist: I've seen one used for molecular model display. And I'm pretty sure I read about the concept last century.

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