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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1617 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

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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Anonymous wifi the latest casualty of Russia net neurosis

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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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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Unhappy

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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Paul Crawford
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Re: Revolutionaries

"Did you know that Word 97 and Powerpoint 97 work quite happily with the 2007 converter pack?"

Er, have you tried to use them with a 2010+ era .docx document? It sucks and MS has only themselves to blame, so .odf is a major improvement here as it won't have the same petty hidden changes to bother with.

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SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

Re: @Naughtyhorse

If this brave new world of on-line services resulted in an end to stupid GUI changes and features no one wants, and instead bugs were fixed and actual improvements made I would support it.

Sadly from my (limited) experience of MS and Google, it is the usual stupidity but on a regular payment plan.

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Paul Crawford
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And people wonder why the likes of MS and Adobe are pushing on-line versions? Money, regular money, and no need to offer something new/better to keep getting paid.

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It's Google HQ - the British one: Reg man snaps covert shots INSIDE London offices

Paul Crawford
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Gimp

Re: "lying face down on with arms and legs dangling"

Now where has my spanking paddle gone?

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Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold

Paul Crawford
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Alternatively they looked at the success (or otherwise) of other's attempts (e.g. the French) and decided its not cost-effective.

While availability of legal sources for some things is much improved (e.g. no DRM on audio after Apple's ITunes more or less forced the major player's hands), there are still problems in video actually getting what you want, when you want it, and in a format that won't piss you around in an attempt to play it.

Some will always pirate, some may stop if they are threatened, but the results of, for example, Spotify on music piracy where it is available has been enormous and that is a lesson to be learned. Shame it has not benefited the artists as much :(

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Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS

Paul Crawford
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Re: SourceFire report

Oh, the other thing lacking from the report is the time-to-patch. That is a big factor in how secure you can be with a given product/supplier.

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Paul Crawford
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SourceFire report

It is worth reading the SourceFire report as it gives an interesting look at the disclosed vulnerabilities over the years.

Forum trolls will delight in being able to quote it for/against any fanbois of OS as well. It has some correct, possibly controversial, ways of reporting, for example counting the webkit browser engine as "Apple" so the CVE count is way higher than you might have expected. Similarity it treats Linux as one product, but the different versions of Windows as separate (mostly, this is discussed).

However, what the report lacks is the exploit count relating to these. For example, it has the iPhone as much worse than Android by CVE count (210 versus 24), but we all know that Trojans and general shit-ware, etc, for Android are much, MUCH bigger problem in practice.

Oh, and check your buffers please? That is the No.1 vulnerability of the quarter-century!

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Paul Crawford
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Black Helicopters

3 years?

Time-line is claimed to be:

VIII. DISCLOSURE TIMELINE

-----------------------------

2011-02-12 - Vulnerability Discovered by VUPEN Security

2014-03-14 - Vulnerability Reported to ZDI and Microsoft During Pwn2Own 2014

2014-06-10 - Vulnerability Fixed by Microsoft

2014-07-16 - Public disclosure

Do we really believe they told no one before Pwn2Own?

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Who should do security clearance checks? Did you say 'chat-bot'? This military slinger hopes so

Paul Crawford
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The Inquisitor?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tGO79BtWUI

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iOS slurpware brouhaha: It's for diagnostics, honest, says Apple

Paul Crawford
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Maybe the Russians had a point in dumping iPads, etc, for gov work after all?

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Microsoft confirms secret Surface will never see the light of day

Paul Crawford
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Short answer is probably the knew it would loose money. After all they are pushing a similar form-factor in the bigger Nokia-softs and, while decent enough phones in many ways, they are hardly flying off the shelves.

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Facebook haters, look away now: BABY SNAP site's profit is up 138%

Paul Crawford
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I guess the recent changes to the user-whoring platform to push adverts in to the news feed is working then, but I find it astonishing there is enough sales liked to FB adverts to justify agencies spending "$6.44 in average revenue per user in the US and Canada".

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HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs

Paul Crawford
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Re: Good article, but...

Same idea as the French insult (more of a derogatory term than outright insult mind you) referring to the British as roast beefs, presumably from out habit of cooking meat until it is usable for shoe soles.

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NO TIME to read Facebook? Delegate the task to your FUTURE SELF

Paul Crawford
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Re: AC

I am sure there are folk in my list of friends who would struggle with email, but they can use a phone so that is not a problem.

Also I don't really want to be part of making FB the only way folk communicate, a propitiatory way that is controlled by one company with the primary goal of whoring us from advertiser to advertiser.

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Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

Alternatively...

I got fed up of the endless stream of pointless re-posting of crap and generally depressing updates from my "friends" on trivia and decided to ignore it completely for a while. Anyone who really needs to contact me can use email, or better still actually call and talk to me.

If FB is important enough to you, try the F.B.Purity add-on for Chrome & Firefox, it makes the current website a touch more bearable. Sadly it won't deal with idiots polluting your news feed.

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Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!

Paul Crawford
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Seriously folks

While it is tempting to poke fun at Yahoo, etc, the issue of what happens to our digital data once we are gone is something that needs to be properly addressed.

While I might not care (on account of being dead, for example) it might still have some impact on the few living ones who may care about me in some way. When stuff like bank accounts and other aspects of one's estate become virtual and there is no obvious paper print outs lying around my 2nd last resting place, how will those who should benefit from whatever I have to leave find them and access them?

A will is the obvious starting place, but how many would think of listing all on-line accounts in there (and updating them with the regularity they change at which is typically much shorter time-scales than a will) , and how to manage the passwords?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: What could go wrong?

Or the seemingly endless stream of XSS flaws that has bothered Yahoo mail in recent years?

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New BOMB detect-o-tech 'could give sniffer dogs competition': TRUE

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Crazy Operations Guy

"get a copy of a terrorist handbook and make it the same way that they do"

Thanks, but no. I'd rather keep my limbs if you don't mind...

If you really like stuff that is not nice to handle (for various reasons), just Google for "Things I won't work with" (for Derek Lowe's blog).

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

Paul Crawford
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Paris Hilton

Re: Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?

I am simultaneously intrigued and horrified by the prospect of tasting Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

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MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets

Paul Crawford
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Not oxygen?

I think the original commentard was referring to this:

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

Cyanobacteria are postulated to be the cause of the first major organism extinction as they produced plentiful O2 by photosynthesis which is toxic to obligate anaerobes.

So the first life on Earth did not need atmospheric oxygen, but of course it did need it bound with hydrogen in water.

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

Paul Crawford
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Re: What is the point of a warrant?

There is little you can do about limiting reading to pairs of keys, as with email you have to be able to read it stand-alone from the other person being present. So with encrypted traffic either party can decrypt it, or its no good. You are always one of the two parties even when many others with different keys are present.

A much simpler and easier option is for the police to ask the judge "We believe that ABC and XYZ were involved in criminal actives between START and STOP dates, please can we get those emails?" and the judge to get a 3rd party to filter both ABC and XYZ's emails for the period START-STOP for communications each other.

Job done, police can look for the specific info the believe is needed to clinch prosecution and 3rd parties are not having their privacy invaded.

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Snowden wants YOU – yes, YOU – to build spy-busting tech

Paul Crawford
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Big Brother

Re: There's a peculiar phenomenon at work here ...

That is exactly my concern. Today I don't really have anything to fear from what GCHQ know about me, but can you imagine what would happen in a few years of the likes of the BNP/UKIP got in to power and started looking for anyone who was a "threat" to their propaganda and monitoring of Joe Public to find them?

Same here for most El Reg readers - dangerous intellectuals with an interest it technology...

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