* Posts by Vic

5591 posts • joined 7 Dec 2007

Earth days are getting longer – by 1.8 milliseconds per century

Vic
Silver badge

Re: margin of error

Each day since 720BC has been on average 24ms longer than it would have been without any slowing

No. Not if the article is correct, it hasn't.

We've had about 14 centuries since 720BC, meaning the days now are about 25ms longer than they were back in the 8th century. Thus, assuming an constant rate of change, each day since 720BC has been about 13ms longer than it otherwise would have been...

Vic.

0
0

90 per cent of the UK's NHS is STILL relying on Windows XP

Vic
Silver badge

Sainsburys supermarkets still have XP in their stores as well.

A couple of years ago, I saw a bunch of Sainsburys checkout machines being rebooted.

They weren't running XP. They were running 2K...

Vic.

0
0

If your smart home gear hasn't updated recently, throw it in the trash

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Security expert?

The current DNS problems seem almost hopeless

The problem with DNS is actually quite easy to solve - it's just expensive.

All we need to do is to phase out DNS over UDP - by turning off or firewalling the UDP responder - and get DNS clients to start using TCP by default[1]. This solves the problem of address spoofing[2], at the cost of significantly higher DNS traffic.

Vic.

[1] Current DNS clients will fall back to TCP if the UDP attempt is unsuccessful. That generally means a 20-second wait. If UDP becomes likely to fail, I can see the behaviour changing quite rapidly...

[2] Address spoofing over TCP is pretty much impossible without co-operation from the spoofed address or the ISP providing it as you need the ACKs for the connection to progress.

0
0

Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

Vic
Silver badge

Re: frog becoming a giraffe

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

The one I like is: Can God create something so massive that even He cannot lift it?

If He can - then He can't lift is, so is not omnipotent.

If He can't - then He is not omnipotent.

For my next trick, I shall don copper armour, stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm, and shout "all gods are bastards"...

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: frog becoming a giraffe

I believe the world is thousands of years old

Me too.

About four and a half million thousands...

Vic.

0
0

Cyanogen parts ways with its founder

Vic
Silver badge

Re: The curse of M$ investment?

Great! What's the url for the vetted Android apps store that isn't Google Play, please?

Enjoy.

Vic.

0
0

Linus Torvalds finds 163 reasons to wait a week for a new Linux

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Partying from 11th December 2016 till March 2017?

Damn there must be such a thing as FOSS free beer.

Indeed there is.

Vic.

0
0

Passengers ride free on SF Muni subway after ransomware infects network, demands $73k

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Ram Air Turbine

They were going to overshoot, and without spoilers putting the nose down wouldn't have helped the matter

Yes it would. Increasing speed from the optimum glide speed reduces the total range - i.e. it spills energy. This is standard glide procedure...

Vic.

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Fly-by-wire

Pretty sure instead of a mechanical linkage and ram-air turbine the 787 uses a redundant emergency battery pack

The 787 has a RAT.

Vic.

2
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Ram Air Turbine

The ram air turbine loses power when you fly slowly

It produces less when travelling slowly - it is still generating, and the aircraft is still responsive.

In the example you cite, the pilots would probably have been better off putting the nose down a bit and gaining some extra speed anyway.

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Sign of the times

I would expect that an airliner with a *complete* electrical failure would be close to unflyable

A *complete* electrical failure would render the aircraft unflyable - but there's a vanishingly small probability of that. You would need to lose all the engines, the APU and the RAT. Any one of those being operable will give you effective control surfaces.

Vic.

1
0

Three certainties in life: Death, taxes and the speed of light – wait no, maybe not that last one

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Creates more problems than it solves?

time, as we perceive it, does not exist as anything other than an illusion.

Lunchtime doubly so?

Vic.

1
0

Grand App Auto: Tesla smartphone hack can track, locate, unlock, and start cars

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Going stone-age

With old cars. the thief has to break a window, start hammering through the door with a screwdriver to break the lock, or otherwise obviously make a lot of noise and draw attention to themselves in order to steal a car

This is not true.

A short length of plastic box strap gets you into most older cars with no fuss and no noise.

There are not many skilled car thieves out there

Is your name Jon Snow?

Vic.

0
0

Integrator fired chap for hiding drugs conviction, told to pay compo for violating his rights

Vic
Silver badge

Re: In this part of the world...

Not sure the rest of the world has the same type of system.

In this part of the world (the UK), the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 explicitly makes it the correct[1] course of action not to disclose spent convictions where the offender qualifies as "rehabilitated"..

Vic.

[1] There are some exemptions.

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Yet another example

UK deaths in 2015 appear to be around 10

To add a little context, genitourinary diseases appear to have killed 12,406 people in the UK in 2010. That makes getting the clap significantly more dangerous than these drugs...

Vic.

2
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: When you've done the penalty, that should be it.

They should ask themselves, would they sack someone if they found out they had liked the band Genesis? Many today would consider such a past to be fairly appalling, but it's not a sacking offence

Post-Peter Gabriel? It fucking is.

Vic.

2
0

Sysadmin denies boss's request to whitelist smut talk site of which he was a very happy member

Vic
Silver badge

tinypenis.co.uk (it was actually a t-shirt company of all things).

Not any more, it isn't.

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

By refusing the request there is no threat to his job under any employment law I know. Doing your job properly is not considered a dismissal offence.

No, but it's amazing how such refusals correlate with poor performance reviews a little later....

If the manager gets arsy about it and gets away with trying to make life difficult you probably don't want to work there anyway. Keep a log, keep the evidence and then batter them with it.

That's all well and good, but it requires a certain amount of probity from all involved. A former colleague of mine took our then-employer to tribunal for constructive dismissal. The employer simply lied, and the suit failed. So when I was faced with a similar situation form the same employer a few years later, I didn't even bother...

Vic.

1
0

Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Vic
Silver badge

"The new plane looped around"

It looped?

I very much doubt it. There's video of an A400M doing a wing-over, but I can't imagine any large passenger aircraft doing a loop...

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Bye bye Arctic

There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around.

[Citation needed], I think. I've spoken to a number of former Concorde captains, and none has given any hint of support to that assertion.

Vic.

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

The flight computer of the airbus can operate under two configurations: "normal law" and "alternate law".

Four configurations. "Normal Law", "Alternate Law", "Abnormal Alternate Law", "Direct Law".

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Wake me up when Concorde returns.

Yep. It seemed to fly right over Arkwright Rd in Reading.

That's roughly where the bottom of the LTMA drops to 3500ft, so you're likely to notice...

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Wake me up when Concorde returns.

There is a plan. Don't know if it will come to anything...

Vic.

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: First Flight Challenges

In the old days the test pilots would strap themselves in, light the fires and take the aircraft up for a quick circuit

The short-lived ones did. "Kick the tyres and light the fires" was one motto often used, and it is explicitly called out by Winkle Brown as a poor attitude. He attributed most of his success as a TP to *not* subscribing to that attitude...

One wonders what the remainder of the flight test campaign is really for these days.

There are three main tasks, AIUI:

  • Testing new designs to ensure they are fit for real operation
  • Testing rebuilt aircraft to ensure they have been put back together properly
  • Flying accident profiles to determine what happened

I have friends who do or have done all of these :-)

Vic.

1
0

Google Pixel pwned in 60 seconds

Vic
Silver badge

Re: problem is not a lack of competence

Quality of code, from translating, reviewing and translating it is abysmal. Most of the reason for it is bad management

I recently heard of a group that has finally been forced to perform code review on their output. They've been fighting this for years.

So now they've decided that each coder will review his own code...

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: You ban "agile".

Your passwords in plain text was just the sort of thing that turned me aginst Agile/Scrum.

Agile is defined at The Agile Manifesto

You'll note that nowhere there does it say you should write any old crap...

And this is why Agile gets a bad name - Agile itself is actually rather good, but every last one of us has seen some complete balls-up that someone has named "Agile" even when it quite clearly isn't.

Vic.

0
0

Angry user demands three site visits to fix email address typos

Vic
Silver badge

Re: I generally now won't help any family members or friends with any IT problems

And if they reply, "Yes you are...unless you want to be DISOWNED from the family, which would include losing invitations to reunions, dinners, parties, etc. and possibly being written out of wills..."

Deal.

Vic.

2
0

Toblerone's Brexit trim should be applied to bloatware

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Major Bloat

Problem: Do the same thing only with someone uncomfortable with a command line

Use Wammu.

Vic.

3
0

US citizens crash Canadian immigration site after Trump victory

Vic
Silver badge

Re: @HausWolf

How many times have you heard prominent pubs use ISIS and Iran in the same sentence

Never.

And I'd drink somewhere else if I did...

Vic.

6
0

Trump's plan: Tariffs on electronics, ban on skilled tech migrants, turn off the internet

Vic
Silver badge

This is a man with a disturbing level of angry-public support

Absolutely.

I wonder what will happen when he doesn't build the wall, doesn't repatriate jobs, etc.

Vic.

6
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: First of all, sorry

Do you see any reason to be hopeful in this scenario?

Only if we replace the red button.

Vic.

1
0

McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Am I missing something?

As for the rubbish being dropped then perhaps part of any planning approval would be that that would be taken care of by McD staff, i.e. they would be responsible under local litter laws for a certain area and would be fined if any litter seen.

That's frequently the case - and in the public enquiry we had, McD suggested exactly that. But there were plenty of pictures of other places in town with the same requirements where the litter simply wasn't being picked up.

These clauses are only useful if they are policed. And they aren't.

Vic.

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Am I missing something?

We really need to stop companies claiming precedence over democratically elected local or national government.

They don't always win...

We had to go to a public enquiry for that victory, mind. And the crap their QC and "expert" witnesses spouted in court had to be heard to be believed.

Vic.

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

I've only been in for a poo.

A poo?

I believe Sir will find that is known as a McShit...

Vic.

0
0

Happy ending for Kettering as soapy veteran replaces Mean Girl Lindsay

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Optional

the home of Weetabix is Burton Latimer isn't it not Kettering.

Weetabix has[1] a plant in Kettering, but it doesn't produce any Weetabix. That, as you say, is all done in Burton Latimer.

Vic.

[1] Used to, anyway. I haven't been there for a couple of decades...

0
0

UK spying law delayed while Lords demand Leveson amendments

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile in Turkey....

My opinion is that May is a borderline psychotic

ITYM "psychopath".

"Psychotic" means something rather different, and I'm not sure it's possible to be borderline...

Vic.

0
0

FBI's Clinton email comedown confirms it could have killed the story in a canter

Vic
Silver badge

Re: The only letter left to write for Comey..

Comey looks borderline negligent or incompetent.

That's hardly news; we all saw his nonsense about encryption just a few months back.

I'm just hoping that this latest fiasco will demonstrate his level of competence to those outside our industry who didn't understand how uncorrelated are the phrases "Comey's mouth" and "rational thought"...

Vic.

0
0

Apple, Mozilla kill API to deplete W3C battery-snitching standard

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Apple and Mozilla are leading the charge away

they're still working on stuff like FlyWeb. Read that link and weep.

That's basically the same thing as HAVi. That, thankfully, went nowhere.

Disclosure: yes, I was part of HAVi. It's the reason I learnt Java in the first place. I'm so, so sorry...

Vic.

1
0

British defence minister refuses to rule out F-35A purchase

Vic
Silver badge

Re: you forgot...

Never got into production, but as for now the Mirage III V is still the fastest VTOL aircraft at Mach 2.

Well, if we're allowed to do aircraft that didn't make production, the Hawker-Siddeley P.1154 also made Mach 2.0, was rather smaller, with rather higher MTOW, and didn't need nine engines...

It was scrapped in 1965. And now, half a century later, we're buying in VTOL aircraft that are slower than both of the above.

Vic.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: But they do operate that way...

That's because the American carriers are about the size of Jersey. Although the British carriers are very big, they aren't nearly as big as that.

At 300m long, the USS Forrestal was a similar size to the new British carriers (280m).

Here is a fun video of a transport aircraft landing on it...

Vic.

2
0

Microsoft puts Windows Updates on a diet with 'differential downloads'

Vic
Silver badge

No, the package manager in Linux looks at all installed packages, it then looks at updates for all packages, as well as the various dependencies.

It's more than that.

A drpm, for example, allows the package manager to create the current update rpm from a previously-downloaded (or created) rpm and a binary patch[1]. That means that a very small change to a very large package involves negligible downloading.

I imagine that Microsoft has implemented the same idea. Which is nice.

Vic.

[1] Everything's signed, of course, so the resulting package will be correct, even if someone's been dibbling with the local filesystem.

2
0

Web devs want to make the Internet of S**t worse. Much worse

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Why the F...

Also occasionally standing up and moving could be a good thing for you.

There's a nice article on that very subject here.

Vic.

0
0

Dan Kaminsky calls for a few good hackers to secure the web

Vic
Silver badge

Spam email, fake email, unencrypted email, etc. That has a real-world effect and has absolutely no solution at the moment

Span is not a technology problem, it's a peolpe problem. As such, any technological attempt to fix it will necessarily fail.

Fake email is fixed by the technologies you mentioned - and you can see by the slow uptake that the bigger problem is that most people just don't care. Implementing SPF takes around 30 seconds for a simple domain[1]. Any domain not publishing a record is demonstrating how much they care. And anti-spoofing isn't an all-or-nothing affair; every domain that published a record, every server that puts a filter in place makes spoofing that little bit less viable.

Unencrypted email? We've had email encryption for *years*. Any MTA of note has the ability to use the STARTTLS verb, meaning in-transit email is always encrypted. This can be either opportunistic (encrypted, but vulnerable to MiTM) or verified (requires a publicly-trusted certificate) - and yet many, many domains just don't use it at all, even if they support TLS on inbound email. Until you can get people to care about encryption, you won't see it in many situations.

As for end-to-end encryption, we;ve had that for years as well. It's really not difficult. And yet the only encrypted email I've ever received has been as part of my testing; in practice, just about no-one cares enough to swap keys. This isn't a technology problem, it's a people problem.

Why does DNS not hold a set of public keys for each domain that are used to encrypt email to that domain

You don't need DNS for that. All you need is a certificate. And yet hardly anyone gets one.

But email still be open to a network sniffer at any point along the way to your destination

It really isn't, unless you're talking about sysadmins who don't care at all.

Vic.

0
0

ARM: Hold my beer, we'll install patches for your crappy IoT gear for you

Vic
Silver badge

Sounds like nobody here thinks that baked-in hardware security and signed updates is in the least bit useful for improving the state of things?

Of course not. For that to work, you'd need your manufacturers[1] to care about security, and offer updates when necessary. And if we had that, we'd not have the problem in the first place...

Vic.

[1] All of them, really...

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: OK, so the dystopian-but-realistic solution is...

A DDoS target notifies their ISP, who analyzes the attack pattern, then starts back-tracing the source addresses of incoming attack packets

That's fine for TCP connections (not SYN floods[1]), but useless against UDP attacks such as DNS or NTP amplification attacks.

Vic.

[1] Yes, there are ways of mitigating SYN flood attacks.

0
0

Gravitational lensing event could provide ideal conditions for planet hunting

Vic
Silver badge

Re: Cinderella orbit distance is a JOKE....

On top of your not understanding the sheer numbers involved

On top of his not understanding the sheer numbers involved anything.

There, FTFY.

Vic.

0
0

Dyn dinged by DDoS: US DNS firm gives web a bad hair day

Vic
Silver badge

have a down-vote for being an @AC

You appear to have mis-spelled "twat".

Vic.

2
0

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

Vic
Silver badge

Re: I was assuming this would be a look at the mini...

My first car was a flying wedge during the early-mid 90's

I had a couple of Ambassadors - that's essentially the Mk3 Princess.

They weren't exactly speedy off the lights[1], but they really weren't too bad once you'd got used to the quirks...

Vic.

[1] Top speed wasn't too bad, though. I got busted in one once - the first thing the copper said was "I didn't think these things go that fast". I didn't tell him I had the brakes on when he caught me...

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: I am astonished

I drove one of those for about 9 months.

I had 8 or 9 of them over the years. I was doing insane mileage, so although I was averaging 35,000 miles out of each, they didn't last me very long. But that's not bad for cars I was generally getting for about £200[1].

the bodyshell would rot every time a bit of water touched it

Yours had been crashed.

Citroen had built themselves such a bad reputation for rusting with the CX - an otherwise lovely car - that they did something about it with the XM. To make them rust meant fracturing the zinc layer - and that's a fairly significant prang. None of mine had any rust, despite the fact that I didn't exactly take fantastic care of them.

Vic.

[1] The depreciation on these cars was unbelievable. The cheap ones were almost £40K when new in 1990. I was mostly driving them in the late '90s. They'd usually cost me £200 to buy the car, and I'd get between £150 and £200 when I scrapped it some months later :-)

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Impressive???

The Maxi was of course another parts bin special

So was the Lotus Esprit. And that was *very* special[1]...

Vic.

[1] Reliability aside, natch.

2
0

Forums