* Posts by John H Woods

2123 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

PINs easily pinched with iPhone-attached thermal imaging kit

John H Woods
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Surely the solution is ...

... IR illumination of keypad? Maybe slightly warming the whole pad would do it?

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Geeks on quest for world's most pointless YouTube video

John H Woods
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Re: Ridiculing and bullying

"I do not believe anyone should be publicly criticising and ridiculing what others do, no matter how pointless or inane they find it themselves. The worst of it is that they are going out of their way to find stuff they don't find worthy and encouraging others to do the same." -- Jason Bloomberg

+1 Satire <> Mockery. I have had to have words with muscular poseurs in the gym for taking the piss out of my fellow fatties. As far as I'm concerned, if you've got the bandwidth for this nastiness you aren't working hard enough.

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Computer Science GCSE male dominated, but geekettes are ready to rise

John H Woods
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Re: Sexist, but joking = Sacked

I didn't support him being "sacked" because it's not how academia should work: the #distractinglysexy response from female scientists was much better.

Nevertheless: there's a bit of a difference between being apparently serious and being obviously ironic; there's a bit of a difference between being a satirical news source and being a brand ambassador for an institution; and there's a bit of a difference between being fired from a job with teaching time, lab-time and a salary and being asked to resign such a non-salaried brand-ambassador role when you've put your foot in it big-time and embarrassed your brand.

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Boffins raise five-week-old fetal human brain in the lab for experimentation

John H Woods
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Re: Get a grip

"Who here remembers that horrid day when, after 9 months of being cosseted in the womb, you were squeezed violently through the birth canal to feel for the first time the pull of gravity, cold, hunger and fear? The answer is non[e] of you. We are are the product of nurture. These proto-brains are no more human than my 5 month old finger was a human when in the womb." -- smartypants

Without either agreeing or disagreeing with your sentiment, I feel obliged to point out that this method of classification would also make the brain of the average 2 year old a 'proto-brain'

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Dixons Carphone still has 7.5k Windows XP EPOS systems

John H Woods
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Re: security taken extremely seriously

All utterances of "We take our customers' security extremely seriously" should go on record, resulting in an automatic doubling of any data protection fines eventually incurred. If the statement cannot be made to count for something, all journalists should simply refuse to report it.

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Oracle to certify its database v.12c for Windows 10

John H Woods
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Virtual machines?

I'm not expert enough to make much sense of my search results, but I was under the impression that ORACLE support had a few limitations when running on VMs -- specifically that they will not provide support for any issue that is not known to happen on native O/S unless the user can demonstrate that the issue is not related to the use of, for instance, VMware.

It's not quite 'insisting on physical machines' but it does seem to me (again, not an expert) that this may be a bit of an out-dated attitude. Would much appreciate comments from the knowledgeable...

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DIGITAL DOPING might make you a Tour de Virtual cycling champion

John H Woods
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Re: FFS

"You missed this?: "Each device scored one of the three pockets in the back of my club jersey. I couldn't turn them on and off simultaneously, but started and stopped each within seconds of the others." --- JeffyPoooh

You're right, I did miss that. But it's still only one run per device, so whilst my off-the-top-of-my-head suggestions for variance were wrong, I think my complaint about the test method still stands. Several runs with the same three devices are needed to determine what the intrinsic variability of each device is before meaningful comparisons can be made between them. Otherwise you end up with the "Which? effect" where, because one particular washing machine, vacuum cleaner etc. outlasted another, they mistakenly think they can form judgements about longevity of each model.

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John H Woods
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FFS

All journalists should go to science, or at least stats, school. Not only are the discrepancies here effectively negligible (you really didn't think GPS was millimetre perfect, did you? I was actually amazed about how close they were!) but as you've only done each run once you have no idea at this stage whether the variability you are observing is due to the runs being different (different times of day, different 'wiggle' from the precise route, or even just random error) or whether it is significantly different between the devices.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

John H Woods
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"Oh c'mon, nothing about abort, kill, peek, poke, inject, grind?" -- oldtaku

Or Wang Laboratories? Or the 'nix finger? Dongles?

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Skills crisis? Not for long: More and more UK kids gain STEM quals

John H Woods
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Re: The CIA World Factbook

... is a pretty well respected online resource; I suspect that is why you've collected a few down votes.

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John H Woods
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"so-called" skills shortage is right ...

Looking at the advert on the right ...

New Business sales: £80,000

SC Cleared Planning Engineer: £43,000

Magento Developer: £35,000 - £40,000

You'd be better off spending 3 years and £30,000 learning golf, as I see no sign of the UK's distinctly anti-meritocratic culture fading.

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Blacklists miss 90% of malware blogged IP love

John H Woods
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Dangerous subnet ...

... just avoid 0.0.0.0/0 and* you should be OK

*and disable IPv6

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Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

John H Woods
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"Err, doesn't that link in the article deserve an [NSFW] tag ..." -- 1980s_coder

and maybe an NSFB tag, too!

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Boffins: The universe is DOOMED and there's nothing to be done

John H Woods
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oh well ...

sudo shutdown -h 3000000000000000000000

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Oracle pulls CSO's BONKERS anti-bug bounty and infosec rant

John H Woods
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"just noting that on a strictly economic basis, why would I throw a lot of money at 3% of the problem..."

Well, on a strictly economic basis, until you've established that the 'lot of money' is actually greater than 3% of the problem, the question is meaningless.

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Indian carriers forced to send TXT for every 10 megabyte download

John H Woods
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@Raj

"What's the point of responses that go 'this sounds like a bad idea because <insert completely unrelated use case for another much more data-intensive country>'" -- Raj

Sorry, Raj -- I think many UK readers will find the idea of the government making a quick fix response to protect consumers from telcos such an alien concept that it will make their heads spin. As it was a quick fix, I don't suppose there's much to stop them refining the rules quickly in future as circumstances change. But from the point of view of someone who lives in a country where the 650 idiots in the building with the clock couldn't come up with a useful, even if somewhat flawed, regulation within the lifetime of one parliament, it's very confusing!

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

John H Woods
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Re: Linux?

"I've been looking to build a small under-the-tv unit for my dad. My current parts list comes to £250 based around this case and an AMD Athlon 5350 or its 1.6GHz, slightly cheaper sibling. The barebones version of this Asus is very tempting as an alternative, but only if I can make it a: run flightradar24.com smoothly and b: play home movies smoothly across the network." -- Martin an Gof

I've got (a) and (b) working pretty well on a Raspberry Pi2. If you want a Wintel box though you could buy a laptop with a broken screen off ebay, £250 seems pretty pricey to me.

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Safe as houses: CCTV for the masses

John H Woods
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The trouble with these things ...

... is that, given past news, they are probably better at letting intruders look at you than vice versa

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Moronic Time cover sets back virtual reality another 12 months

John H Woods
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Re: The only way to not be ridiculed...

Reminds me of the old joke about when the French Resistance didn't have enough guns and new recruits were given broomhandles for training. But one day the Germans surprise them and the poor old noob has to defend the secret bunker with nothing but a broom handle. Bizarrely, he finds that taking careful aim and shouting "bangety bang!" is actually *working* and the oncoming hordes are dropping like flies. However, there's too many of them and they are nearly upon him. That's where the bayonet training kicks in and, amazingly, poking the chaps in the ribs and shouting "stabety stab" seems to be doing the trick. On all except one attacker; he just keeps rolling on towards our plucky hero. Just as the latter is about to be literally trampled by one remaining slow moving assailant trundling impassively towards him he shouts "Hold on, why aren't you dead?" The German replies: "Clankety clank, I'm a tank"

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

John H Woods
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Re: No compass...

"I doubt any touchscreen works well in the rain." -- tacitust

My Sony Xperia Z3 seems to work fine in anything but the heaviest rain.

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Samsung looks into spam ads appearing on Brits' smart TVs

John H Woods
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front projection

Agreed --- Most 'home cinema' is just 'big telly' - but with a small amount of effort you can get a projector to give a truly gorgeous image of any size you like. You don't even need to have a home cinema room. When our projector is off, it just looks like we have a modest 23" IPS monitor to display one of the inputs (SKY / Pi / PS3 / Wii). The projector only dominates the room when it is on - which is when you want it to.

You don't even need an expensive projector - I got this 720p SONY 3LCD one off ebay for a hundred quid. OK it's not as good as my sons' Full HD / 3D Optoma, but it produces a great picture (and warms the room in winter)

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Windows 10 wipes your child safety settings if you upgrade from 7 or 8

John H Woods
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Re: ...We all know that porn is found in bushes...

"Hedgeporn, like public phone boxes and state pensions, will be an unknown pleasure to current and future yoof...." -- Tim Jenkins

Well, they certainly don't have to go outdoors to find it! But weirdly I still come across it walking the dogs --- I've actually found digital hedgeporn, too in the form of DVDs!

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Biggest security update in history coming up: Google patches Android hijack bug Stagefright

John H Woods
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Re: Re asdf: Incredible!

"so rolling out an update to hundreds of millions of devices doesn't seem to be an industries first..." -- OliverJ

I hear what you're saying but It's not the count, it's the diversity. The hundreds of millions of devices which got IOS8 were what, about half a dozen SKUs?

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

John H Woods
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Re: inside out

"I can't help but feel that it would have been better to add light output to loudspeakers, rather than vice versa." -- artificial bitterness

I have a sudden nostalgic vision of Sound-to-Light systems from Tandy

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Nearby exoplanets circle naked-eye-visible star

John H Woods
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Re: denizens of city centres (who deserve what they get).

"The idea of a post-midnight switch off was briefly floated here before being roundly shouted down as irresponsible and dangerous by the local think-of-the-children brigade" -- AbelSoul

What? Which members of this brigade let their children out after midnight? Here in rural Warks, our lights go off at 00:00 (01:00 on Sat and Sun) and it's marvellous. In fact, the only downside is that I didn't know they were going to do it: first night it happened I went out with the dogs, stumbled over the lead of the electric lawnmower that I had, ahem, left out and, almost as I did so, all the lights in the village went out. Took me a second or two to work out what had happened ...

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Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

John H Woods
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Re: @Pascal Meh.

"Sorry, but when you have people blowing themselves up and killing people... I'll accept limited snooping if it means I can sleep safe and bomb free." -- Ian Michael Gumby

We have pretty much established that limited snooping does not mean you can sleep safe and bomb free, so your statement isn't really very useful. Do you mean you would accept vastly more snooping, i.e., the amount that would allow you to sleep safe and bomb free? I think the amount of snooping required to achieve that is effectively unlimited. Or do you mean that you won't accept any snooping at all if it doesn't allow you to sleep safe and bomb free? Both positions seem ridiculous, but if you don't hold either of them your conditional statement is effectively content free.

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John H Woods
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Re: @moiety

"... but I'm pretty sure that the technology is still being developed ..." -- moeity

Trouble is ... the maths is already developed, so it really doesn't matter what you do with the technology. There are too many people and too few terrorists, so if your false positive rate is anywhere near the realm of the possible you will have far too many leads to follow (a "99.99% accurate" test would give you 3,000 leads in the UK alone - it would take something like 30,000 field operatives --- and probably another 10,000 support staff --- to keep an eye on them 24x7).

See base rate fallacy and/or paradox of the false positive

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

John H Woods
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Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

"ITYM lobotomised" -- Stoneshop

Indeed. Both my teenage boys requested headphones for birthday presents, cue trips to hifi shops to try them on, and one trip to HMV to try Beats. Both boys said the same thing "Are these faulty?"

I put them on. OMG, do people really like that? It just sounds like nextdoor's music turned up way too loud. I have not heard any genre of music, hip hop included, that sounds better on Beats than any similarly priced offerings from Sennheiser, BeyerDynamic, hell, even Bose.

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HP insists 'we don't have a global dress code' – while deleting one from its website

John H Woods
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"Just a t-shirt???? That might draw a crowd depending on who's wearing it" -- Mark85

theoatmeal.com/pl/minor_differences4/shirt

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The Q7: Audi’s big SUV goes from tosspot to tip-top

John H Woods
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Re: Deep Joy

"Plus they don't fit into parking spaces" -- AC

Almost nothing fits into parking spaces any more -- they are like bus seats, still being made to fit the sizes of vehicles and backsides that were around in the '70s and '80s.

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Gay emojis? GAY EMOJIS?! Not here in Russia, comrade

John H Woods
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New Emoji request ...

... muscular bare-chested male riding a horse; holding an AK; wrestling a bear etc.

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No, Microsoft: Your one-billion Windows 10 goal is just sad ... really sad

John H Woods
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"...unwanted act of fellatio..." -- AC

<pedant_mode>

ITYM 'irrumatio' -- an unwanted act of fellatio would be something else: "Hey! I *really* didn't want you to wake me up like that ... etc"

</pedant_mode>

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Derelict TrueCrypt Russia portal 'is command hub for Ukraine spying op'

John H Woods
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Re: When the developer...

"When the developer says, "So long and thanks for all the fish!" while also saying "Don't use this" there's probably a reason for that." -- Bob Dole

This is a version with a back-door. That doesn't mean the original version has a back-door (or that it doesn't). The TrueCrypt goodbye message looks a lot more like a warrant canary than anything else.

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Hurrah! Uber does work (in the broadest sense of the word) after all

John H Woods
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Re: Again?

Principally as a result of Tim Worstall's articles, I have actually found myself reading Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" It's hard to recommend this too highly -- it's a very rewarding, if not entirely straightforward read. It is especially interesting how he railed against allowing special interests too much control, or even just influence, over governments. In particular, he talks of "corporations" which, as I understand it, then referred to businesses who use government law to restrict competition in order to gain financial advantage --- that would seem to describe the medallion issue in the article perfectly.

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21st century malware found in Jane Austen's 19th century prose

John H Woods
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Re: Well it makes sense

Speaking as a member of that set, can I recommend it to people? Start with Northanger Abbey, though!

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At last we know for sure. Blighty's 'best mobile network' is ...

John H Woods
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Until we got rural fibre ...

my Three phone easily beat the 2Mbps of the ADSL. SWIMBO's on EE, and if she wants data in this part of Warwickshire, most of the time it has to be done by my phone's hotspot. Text and Voice no problem; but data's an absolute joke - I'd have to keep reminding myself its 100x better than Voda or I'd burst into tears.

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Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

John H Woods
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Re: The definition of insanity ...

"The quoted definition is a horribly poor one anyway" -- DropBear

Yeah, it's a particular bugbear of mine. At least it wasn't mis-attributed to Einstein, which is the usual state of affairs with this (mis)quotation. It actually seems to have come from an Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet (page 11 [25 of 68] of this pdf) which contains the more sensible "repeating the same mistakes ..."

Anyway, every time I see it, I have to complain: it's right up there with "everything happens for a reason" and "everyone's entitled to their opinion." I keep thinking there should be a pithy retort along the lines of "you clearly can't tell your perseverance from your perseveration" but I'm still looking for something effective.

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John H Woods
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The definition of insanity ...

... might well be making the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results --- but nearly every form of success other than 'striking it lucky' comes from trying things again and again until they work - whether it's creating and marketing products, kung fu or musical performance.

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Hold that upgrade: Critical bug in .NET 4.6 'breaks applications'

John H Woods
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Classic Heisenbug?

"Attaching a debugger, says Craver, changes the behavior and usually hides the issue."

The only one I've every experienced directly in my professional career was in a mainframe screenscraper --- when logging was on, the submillisecond delay caused by writing the log entry was enough for the MF to respond, and to hide the fact that the procedure didn't wait for the response if it wasn't ready; with logging off the procedure just fell straight through and returned an empty response.

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US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

John H Woods
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Re: Major change needed

... and how about PIN number?

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The Lazarus Effect: Saved by Linux and Cash Converters

John H Woods
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"You choosing a penetration testing distribution and complaining that the UI is not polished seems a little naive on your part." -- kryptylomese

Although I was impressed at the author's flexibility and open-mindedness, this did seem a weird choice for my-first-linux. I would agree Ubuntu Mate or Linux Mint would make a much more obvious choice --- but maybe the author needed to use someone else's "secured" hotspot :-)

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Choc Factory research shows users just don't get security

John H Woods
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Re: Password managers

"Password managers don't have to be run 'in the cloud' - they can be standalone applications running on your computer, and which should therefore continue running long after the developers have gone." -- VinceH

Here's mine:

echo -n 'mymainpassword myusernameforthewebsite thewebsitename' | sha256sum - | xxd -r -p | base64 | tr 'a-m' '!--' | cut -c -20 | xclip

When my browser can't remember a password, I just run that script in a terminal, then middle key click the password input field to paste a twenty character password, with 6 bits of entropy per character. If you used the literal values in the case above it would be: 3"'MnsKA-&t74GD&,GxE

For stupid accounts that insist on alphanumeric only, replace the 'tr' command (with something like sed "s/[+/=]//g"). The script works with very little modification on windows too. I also have a version that does a non-echoing prompt for the main password, but I tend not to bother with that now unless I'm aware I may be overlooked (but it's also good if you don't want it to end up in your shell history):

read -s -p "Password:" PASSWORD && echo -n "$PASSWORD myusernameforthewebsite thewebsitename" | sha256sum - | xxd -r -p | base64 | cut -c -20 | xclip

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Now car hackers can bust in through your motor's DAB RADIO

John H Woods
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Re: TBH

Olaf > the destination is 10m west of whatever you put in

Me >> <pedant_mode>I think I'm quite capable of walking 10 metres in an easterly direction when I get there</pedant_mode>

BlaneBramble >>> Not if there is a substantial obstacle 10m West (wall, lake, large drop, etc.) of your destination."

Well, when I'm driving the car myself, I have an additional gadget that warns me of obstacles unknown to the satnav, aka Mk I Eyeball; self-driving cars have radar / lidar. But my original comment was just a poor attempt at humour, I knew that 'm' meant miles in this context.

Olaf's point, though - that someone could quietly reprogram your satnav, is quite an interesting one - especially combined with control over speed, doors etc (or a self driving car), it could certainly facilitate carjacking or abduction.

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John H Woods
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Re: TBH

"the destination is 10m west of whatever you put in" -- Olaf

<pedant_mode>I think I'm quite capable of walking 10 metres in an easterly direction when I get there</pedant_mode>

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John H Woods
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Re: @Mongo - Yet again poor design and great hacking reveals me as a muppet

"The real muppets are the ones whose poor programing practices allowed such things to happen in the first place!" -- Graham Marsden

I disagree, they are merely inexperienced graduates and/or other noobs. Or, quite often, they have already raised concerns only to have them airily dismissed. The real muppets are those who actually have the power to make decisions (which, in practice, always means budget controllers) on hiring, testing, and quality control.

Even a single, highly experienced and or qualified software/security engineer attached to one or more of these teams would make a difference in quality. The difference that 1st level management see is a 1% increase in their budget, so they demur. But even these managers are relatively blameless: they know that, whatever they say, those above them see only $ signs, and that if they are seen to increase their budget by 1% they are automatically regarded as failing, as no justification would be understood (to be honest, even given an audience) by higher management.

This status quo will continue until those at the top suffer financially or legally. They cannot be allowed to continue to micromanage budgets all the way down and then shrug their shoulders at the almost inevitable consequences.

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

John H Woods
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Re: When customers....

"Re: When customers visit an R&D department they WANT to see geeks!" -- circusmole

Labcoats! Or, if they work on HP printer drivers, Hazmat suits ...

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Keep your stupid drones away from piloted aircraft, rages CAA

John H Woods
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If flying drones near aircraft is really dangerous ...

... surely additional legislation is inappropriate, given that (a) existing legislation would appear to suffice and (b) there are, as we are constantly reminded, a non-zero number of people who would endanger aircraft on purpose.

Can't those people charged with ensuring our safety come up with some electronic counter measures and some electronics / software to trace operators?

I'm pretty sure there's going to be a market in anti-drone devices, as an anti-paparazzi measure for wealthy celebs, if nothing else. Wonder what you'd need for safe capture? Anyone fancy going into business?

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