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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1639 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Too slow with that iPhone refresh, Apple: Android is GOBBLING up US mobile market

Paul Crawford
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Re: Italy?

MS made them an offer they couldn't refuse?

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KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION

Paul Crawford
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Re: if the malware does indeed encrypt everything in sight

Not all backup systems present the "backup" as files on the regular file system.

How about rsync to a remote system that has no obvious log-in? Said system could also have features like file system snap-shops so you could roll-back even if said remote file system is deleted/encrypted.

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Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies

Paul Crawford
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Public key pinning?

It appears that web sites will be using some HTTP extension to declare by whom their SSL certificate should be issued, but surely in a MITM attack you would just advertise the 'other' compromised issuer used for the web-access morphing attack?

Have I missed something here?

I applaud the attempt to deal with the mess that is SSL issuing, but it seems to need far more than that to deal with a well-executed MITM attack (along the lines of noticing cert changes and validating with several geographically/politically separate entities that such a change is correct).

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Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU

Paul Crawford
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Re: Plain Text

Another benefit of PDFs is they actually retain the correct/intended page layout on different systems (unlike Word, etc, where changes in software version, local printer settings, etc, alter the layout).

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

Paul Crawford
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Re: "The basis of this article is laughable"

Not so funny when you have paid for seriously expensive test hardware only to find it is not going to do things you expected because they have deliberately hobbled it in the application software.

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Paul Crawford
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Another argument in favour of Open Source software (and proper/full hardware documentation) where deliberate hobbling is not possible.

Hobbling through generally incompetent development failing to make things work properly is, as for closed source, still possible...

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

Paul Crawford
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Re: I was thinking of another type of hologram

Someone ate them for pudding, I'm guessing.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: I was thinking of another type of hologram

You get socks and cake mixed up? I did wonder why that pudding of yours tasted odd...

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EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz

Paul Crawford
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Re: Stuff that. What about getting *rid* of this space crap?

The "big stuff" is usually easy to deal with, probably still has some command-action left in it, and even if not it is easy to track so others can take evasive action and it is a candidate for some sort of active re-entry control.

Its all the small stuff that is hard to deal with.

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China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft

Paul Crawford
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Re: New user interface ...

Google translate is your starting point...just don't use it for anything culturally sensitive!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: The key will be drivers

Most computer hardware is assembled in China, so I doubt they would have much issue with compelling suppliers to provide the necessary drivers if they want any of it to be sold in China.

Whether they use/abuse the GPL Linux as a start is unanswered, but they could go FreeBSD and avoid open-sourcing the drivers to play nicely with global IPR practice. Other non-GPL aspects compiled in and not open sourced could be built-in state spying...

As others have said, it is very doubtful you could do a whole OS without starting either something similar it that sort of time scale and budget.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

How do you diff two word documents ?

With some difficulty.

Word offers the ability to compare/merge two documents and shows the difference using the same "track changes" feature that can be used to show your own (and other's in another colour) edits/revisions.

However, it was always sh*t at many things, often showing a whole table as "changed" when in fact only a word or even some formatting was different, and would often flag up changes in automatic fields (table of contents, heading numberings, page numbers, etc) that really you don't normally care about because they are designed to update anyway..

Word sucks, as does Open/LibreOffice writer, but in different ways. I prefer the Office 97 version of word, even though it is more buggy and won't do odf or docx in any usable way, but that is probably down to my years of sorry experience in using it and not really liking the ribbon of later versions (though I also use 2010 at times). As others do, I often write the main multi-section document in LibreOffice to get content OK, then import to Office 2012 for final formatting for those who can't cope without Word or if there is something it does better than LibreOffice.

p.s. macros in documents are the Devil's work.

p.p.s. MS has a long and inglorious history of embedding absolute paths in linking stuff that promptly breaks when you try to edit it on another machine.

p.p.p.s. Thunderbird has also degenerated in to storing absolute paths to things, even though they are all folders/files in the same profile sub-directory so should be relative to there.Then if you move your profile to another user name, or a machine with different directory structure, random bits of your email don't appear/work any more.

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Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip

Paul Crawford
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Re: Windows 8.1 is good!

How old was your previous OS that a 2TB HDD was "massive" and 32GB of RAM a "huge expanse" that posed some sort of problem?

As opposed to today, with being needed just to get the damn thing to work...

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Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies

Paul Crawford
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Re: /but

Don't know, but the Soup Dragon had 4 legs and 2 arms instead of wings, presumably from finding an ecological nice in serving soup and blue string pudding. Guess that is evolution for you...

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Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE

Paul Crawford
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Re: Its not just Kate Bush

So how do you know there's someone still with a bush working at his local strip club?

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Nuke regulator hacked three times in three years

Paul Crawford
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Adobe again?

The link has a little more info, including "A PDF attachment in the email contained a JavaScript security vulnerability" so it sounds like Adobe is the starting point.

Again.

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What's in your toolbox? Why the browser wars are so last decade

Paul Crawford
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"The pressure to differentiate is more intense than ever"

Really? So why is Firefox so keen to dump useful GUI stuff in order to look like Chrome?

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Click on a Facebook ad on your mobe, then buy a thing on your PC ... Facebook remembers

Paul Crawford
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World's favourite platform for whoring you from advertiser to advertiser...

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Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar

Paul Crawford
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A holy quarrel, perhpas?

http://philipkdickreview.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/holy-quarrel/

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UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom

Paul Crawford
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Interesting you should say this, as I have long suspected it on my Tesco account - generally crap coverage when you try to use it even in a modest sized Scottish city, even when signal strength is apparently decent.

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Anonymous wifi the latest casualty of Russia net neurosis

Paul Crawford
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Re: New idea for some "malware"

Better plan would be something that infects the most routers and opens a small percent of bandwidth for tor or similar, while disabling remote updates from any ISP (or just updating version number so it looks as if it worked).

If a large percentage of connections were infected it would be a major deal to try and get them all cleaned and plenty of plausible deniablity.

Not that I would promote breaking the law, of course.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Well, to read The Register

You seem to have missed the point, its not about securing Joe Public against a wi-fi driver trying to intercept their connection, it is about tracking everyone who attempts to speak.

Tying it to a phone is a nice touch: it allows them to easily follow the locations most folk who ever use the internet as well (unless they are sufficiently paranoid to only switch it one when absolutely necessary).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: What if you don't have a mobile?

Your fckd'd. One way or another, your fsck'd.

This is "Papers citizen!!!" at every opportunity.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: What about forriners?

"whether they just want to control their own population, or whether they're really serious about security"

Really, this is all about control of their population. Just like China, Russia has not quite got the idea of democracy at all, and the last thing the powers-that-be want is to be questioned by folk they can't simply "disappear".

The fact the west is moving this way is a far more worrying sign.

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Microsoft fixes all those shaky GoPro vids nobody wants to watch

Paul Crawford
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"working to bring Hyperlapse into a Windows app some time soon"

That is MS' underlying problem these days, they still see the world as:

"Windows on x86 is the answer, now what was your question?"

They would be far better to separate applications from being Windows-only to supporting what is out there on all platforms. Its not like they don't have the resources to do cross-platform development, is it?

Edited to add: Good work nevertheless, makes such videos watchable!

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Crypto Daddy Phil Zimmerman says surveillance society is DOOMED

Paul Crawford
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Big Brother

Re: He talks a good talk

The issue here is the asymmetry of information.

In the old days, everyone knew what everyone else in the village was up to so no one really could make much use of that without the same applying to them.

Today we have secretive organisations that appear to be beyond the control/supervision of our elected official, who know more or less everything about us, but we know nothing of them.

For example, if they (or in all likelihood an employee with some grudge) chose to poison our character by slipping carefully filtered information to a job committee how would you know why you were rejected? Scale that up to situations where you have a paranoid and ill-liked government (which is the trend, sadly) and you can see the temptation for feature creep to be applied.

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Microsoft throws old versions of Internet Explorer under the bus

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Charlie Clark

As already pointed out, any closed OS can and most probable will spy on you. Open ones may do as well (looking at you Canonical with your Amazon search...)

Why do you want to use a Windows VM on the internet at all if you are so concerned? Most of my XP VMs are there to run only stuff locally that is not supported now and they just don't get external networking as I can transfer files in/out with mapped drives, etc.

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Paul Crawford
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IE10/11 seem to be quite acceptable, though lacking in the range of useful plugins you get for FF & Chrome.

But why can't MS make IE11 for all supported versions of Windows? Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc all seem to manage that trick with a fraction of MS' budget.

Yes, I know that was a rhetorical question as MS are run by marketing droids who still believe they can dictate how the PC industry will go...

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

Paul Crawford
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One could well ask what NSA/GCHQ has done to protect us. They should have known of such insecurities, so are either incompetent at their jobs (unlikely), view the protection of consumers against such scams as beneath them, or have such a warped paranoid world-view that maintaining hacking capabilities is more important than actually protecting us (most likely).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Can someone please explain

Cheap outsourced coding monkeys?

Graduates not taught about security and made to run automated tests for it?

Web sites developed by consultancy then never updated?

Developers wanting (or being told to by PHB) to prioritise shiny over robust?

I don't know really, but those are my semi-educated guesses.

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Who will kill power companies? TESLA, says Morgan Stanley

Paul Crawford
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Battry life?

Its not just the initial cost of the batteries, but also the expected lifetime that is needed for an economical case.

Same with solar panels, they have pay-back times today in the order of 10-20 years (even with subsidies, that that may change as oil costs rise) but who is guaranteeing the hardware (panels & inverter) lasts for anything that time?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: @Steve Todd

Take the UK as an example: where are the CHP plants, and who is making use of the "low grade" heat that makes for the 40% or so of that 80% efficiency?

Very few. Our local University has a campus heating system that uses it, so runs its own 5MW (I think) CHP plant and pumps steam around the major buildings to heat them. Which is great.

But often if they need a bit more heating, in goes another conventional gas boiler as its cheaper to do than to extend the CHP distribution!

Now then, where are the GW sized generators, and is anyone prepared to dig up towns and cities for hot water distribution to make said efficiency worth it?

So far, the cost of energy that everyone complains about is not enough to cover the cost of western world labour for infrastructure development. Sad but true :(

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

Paul Crawford
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You still need the big thrust to get off Mars again, even if not quite the magnitude of leaving Earth's gravity pool.

At the thrust figures mentioned here (even assuming they are right), that means carrying chemical fuel, or making said fuel on Mars, or using some nuclear thruster (not necessarily Project Orion, but as heat source for expanding/accelerating a propellant) that you would not get permission to use on Earth for safety fears.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: @lglethal

A typical satellite with 2.5kW of power is in the big communications class, so its likely this would be similar, so around 1000kg.

With 0.72N of thrust you get an acceleration of 7.2E-4 m.s^-2 (i.e. 7.3E-5 g) or 62.2m/s per day. To double the escape velocity of about 11km/s would take about 176 days, and then double that time to stop the craft again.

So of course you keep accelerating, but this is not suddenly going to make interplanetary travel convenient.

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Paul Crawford
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"a fuel-less drive system like EmDrive changes that equation"

Until one works out where all of that power comes from.

Close to the Sun you may have solar panels, and farther out you might use a RTG for power, but with 2.5kW needed for 720mN of thrust you are looking at serious power levels to cut the flight-time to Mars.

Also did they bother to funnel the wast heat for more drive?

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Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

Paul Crawford
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I feel your pain - I have an HTC Wildfire until recently, now have a Moto G.

Its quite a usable phone really...

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Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

Paul Crawford
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Re: AC

"To my mind your data is no safer on your own servers than it is in the cloud unless you want to encrypt it and refuse to hand over the keys (and are therefore prepared to go to jail for not handing over the key)".

No. If I were living in Ireland then the only authority to make me hand over my keys would be the Irish courts. End of story.

What we have here is the US demanding the data on a non-US service/server based on the company having ties to the US. Had they the slightest sense of decency and international decorum, they would have made a formal request to the Irish law enforcement agencies who, no doubt would have cooperated if there was probable cause.

In that case here I'm pretty sure the comentards on this forum would have supported it as the proper legal process.

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Wireless charging stretches the friendship by 45mm

Paul Crawford
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Re: 2KW across 35mm !!

Looks like they have re-invented the induction hob?

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Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away

Paul Crawford
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Tell it like it is...

"it prefers not to comment on analyst figures, especially ones that don’t fit with its view of the world"

Could not have put it better.

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Android busted for carrying Fake ID: OS doesn't check who really made that 'Adobe' plugin

Paul Crawford
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"security updates for *any* software as long as possible"

While for any software would be nice, the real problem here is a physical device that cant be used securely after a certain time due to embedded software/firmware. It becomes landfill, a waste of the Earth's resources.

With pure software (i.e. stuff running on a computer, including its OS) you can often change it/upgrade it and not throw something away, and we have had automated patching of OS and applications for years already. So its not like a fancy "new technology" is it?

As far as time scale is concerned, it should be defined in terms of the expected usable life (from the buyer's point of view), so something like at least 5 years after end-of-production.

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Paul Crawford
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It is high time the law was changed to make manufacturers/carriers liable for a failure to provide a timely patch.

Just now most of them just don't give a damn because its in their interest that you either buy a new phone or take out another 2 year contract. And if anything goes wrong to you, your bank account, etc, its none of their problem.

That would change noticeably if they were required to pay up for failure to act. Of course phones will still have bugs, and they can't be expected to indemnify for the unknown, but they sure as hell should be punished for not fixing stuff once they have, say, 1 month's notice.

Edited to add: And do the same for the crappy/creepy "IoT" devices as well.

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Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency

Paul Crawford
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Thermodynmic efficiency?

The problem with 'cold' burning is also efficiency: the ultimate (theoretical) efficiency of a heat engine depends on the ratio of hot & cold absolute temperatures (e.g. Kelvin), and the "cold" one is always above ambient in practice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_Engine#Efficiency

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14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

Paul Crawford
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Re: Point of Issue

That is why various guidelines and standards have been developed to make coding safer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MISRA_C

www.stroustrup.com/JSF-AV-rules.pdf

Whatever language you use, you can screw up, but C/C++ just gives you a more direct way of doing so. Safe code is hard to do and needs some skill and the willingness to stick to the above guidelines and to USE the tools already out there to check for errors and bad practice.

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OKCupid: OK, STUPID, YES we set you up with BAD DATES. On purpose

Paul Crawford
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First in a long time

That article on the OK trends was the first listed since 2011 when they were bought out by match.com and I had thought the founders had simply quit at that point.

It is also worth noting that an earlier blog critical of match.com and other paid dating sites was pulled from the blog around that time.

http://web.archive.org/web/20101006104124/http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/why-you-should-never-pay-for-online-dating/

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

Paul Crawford
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Joke

Re: Speaking as a CRT user...

Don't sharks have multiple gill slots, which is how you know its a kettle of fish (single gill slot) and not a kettle of sharks?

Oh, and fish don't have lasers...

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

Paul Crawford
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Re: CPU

You have to consider each aspect separately. All they have proven is the implemented logic of the microkernel meets the specifications.

You can have bugs and flaws in:

- Specifications

- Sub-systems called by the microkernel

- Compiler

- Standard Libraries

- CPU/FPU hardware

But compared the today's huge kernels in Linux/UNIX/Windows/etc which have the last three as well as a box-of-frogs evolved design, that provability is a big start to something reliable for critical jobs.

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Paul Crawford
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"has provable upper bounds on interrupt latencies"

Er, those upper bounds would include hardware jitter as that is a known value and generally much much smaller than the software steps in ISR task-swapping.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Was it really necessary for MS to change

For marketing yes, and that ultimately won along with a lot of legacy-supporting crud and mind-numbing stupidity like making IE deeply embedded.

If they had stuck to the original microkernel approach as planned by Dave Cutler and just accepted the performance penalty then it would have been one of the most secure OS around.

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

Paul Crawford
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No, it is not pointless.

The point is with .docx you have to do it MS' way, and they can fiddle with that and withhold info (e.g. the binary blobs in .doc format that is included), while with .odf it is an open and transparent standard.

That way anyone can do it properly and the goal is to compete on the quality/price ratio of your editor, and not on having the only one that works with some secret sauce.

Long term, that is MS' way forward to a profitable future - to do better and not to rely on lock-in and unethical practice. Not holding my breath, of course...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Already Given Up

"Anyone can grab hold of a 1/4-20 UNC bolt and use it to mount their camera anywhere they want"

Tsk, tsk, you should be using BSW for that...

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