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* Posts by Stuart Longland

1020 posts • joined 11 Jan 2008

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TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'

Stuart Longland
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Re: Conflicted

Of course, telling this to teenagers is like waving a red rag in front of a bull…

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SHELLSHOCKED: Fortune 1000 outfits Bash out batches of patches

Stuart Longland
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Re: nas and modems @Stuart Longland

Indeed, it'll be more substantial than that of a router, because it probably has Samba for Windows File Sharing, some media streaming tools, web/FTP server, etc…

This does not necessarily mean that bash is being used. You'll need filesystem access to actually know for sure, just looking at the size of the firmware blob isn't going to tell you.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: nas and modems

How does this affect the 1001 NAS, media server, TV's and modems around that run a version of Linux

Like This.

Very few of those devices actually have the OS-image storage for a full-blown GNU/Linux distribution. Most are a cut-down Linux OS based around Busybox, which according to that test I did, isn't vulnerable.

Even a NAS, which may have big HDDs installed, won't be using those HDDs for the OS, it'll have a small flash chip somewhere with a minimal OS on it.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Meanwhile, on a web server that was already patched twice

Indeed, I suppose it's people who think such patches should make those crack-attempts invisible. Or those who maybe wish their commercial software supplier was as swift delivering fixes.

I find it rather telling that this apparently 20+-year old bug has only just started being exploited within the last week.

I've certainly seen a few attempts myself now.

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Stuart Longland
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Re: Streaming

My only reason for sampling stuff at 48kHz instead of 44.1kHz is that most of my sound devices today are natively 48kHz and don't do other rates, so rely on software up-sampling for 44.1kHz.

So I leave it at 48kHz when recording it (usually from vinyl) and leave it at that.

Gone are the days when sound-cards would re-sync their clocks to just about any sample rate you wanted. (Had great fun trying to write an ALSA-SOC driver to make a TI TLV320AIC3204 do that though a couple of years back.)

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Stuart Longland
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Re: I still buy CDs

Actually, sometimes having to get off my arse to flip the record over is a good thing. It ensures I move around every 20 minutes.

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Stuart Longland
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You feel old?

None of my music was downloaded or streamed.

One song was live-recorded off FM radio (yes, very naughty of me… but whenever I've been in a record shop I have a quick squiz to see if there's an album that has it), the rest have been ripped from a mixture of CDs and LPs which I personally own.

I'm not about to start downloading or streaming now, my current arrangement works fine thank-you.

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

Stuart Longland
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Re: another huge hype

The media does seem to have amplified the issue somewhat, but then again, that's what they're there for, to amplify the news that others raise. And bad news sells! This centuries-old fact is not news.

What I observe with HeartBleed and ShellShock was the idea of "branding" a bug, which seems to have resonated with the media outlets.

Even more so than the bug where Debian's patching caused OpenSSL to generate weak keys. That bug was particularly nasty, but generated a lot less press than these two have.

With it, I've noted a lot of misinformation out there, claims of all kinds of embedded devices/Android being vulnerable (see my tests with busybox above) and claims that it's a Linux or Unix-only problem (Windows can run bash, e.g. using Cygwin or Interix).

So in the open-source world we've now had a few high-profile security holes pop up. As you point out, some of them have been around a long time. HeartBleed was nasty as it revealed bits of RAM accessible to the web server which amongst other things would include the SSL private key.

ShellShock doesn't give you that (as the private key should be owned by root and unreadable by anyone else) but it does allow you to execute arbitrary commands, which is nasty in its own right, as it only takes a privilege escalation bug to gain access to such information.

The good news with ShellShock is that it's only a limited set of environment variables that get passed to CGI scripts, and so it's not that difficult to mitigate against if you have a CGI script that executes some command line application (e.g. gitweb executing the "git" command). Not difficult to do a few checks of %ENV, pluck out the bits you want then set the offensive ones to `undef` before shelling out.

The other factor is that bash is never linked to applications, it is a stand-alone binary executable, replacing it will not cause ABI breakage like replacing OpenSSL can, and it typically does not come bundled with applications either as a dynamic library or statically linked. That makes containment and clean-up a lot easier.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: We are not out of the woods yet

And the patches are out:

25 Sep 2014; Lars Wendler <polynomial-c@gentoo.org> +bash-3.1_p18-r1.ebuild,

+bash-3.2_p52-r1.ebuild, +bash-4.0_p39-r1.ebuild, +bash-4.1_p12-r1.ebuild,

+bash-4.2_p48-r1.ebuild, +bash-4.3_p25-r1.ebuild,

+files/bash-eol-pushback.patch:

Another security bump for CVE-2014-7169 (bug #523592).

At least in Gentoo, and yes I've just re-patched, again. Still, amusing to see these "exploits" showing up in web server logs and have no effect.

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Stuart Longland
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Unless your router is a full-fledged Linux box with GNU Bash installed (unlikely), you should be safe. Most don't have the storage for a full-blown Linux distribution, thus rely on the more compact Busybox shell:

RC=0 stuartl@rikishi ~ $ env X="() { :;} ; echo busted" busybox sh -c "echo completed"

completed

Not vulnerable, at least my version isn't.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: well i am off

Sure, I'm rubbish at golf but I'll join you. My outside-world facing boxes are patched.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Can you hear that sound?

I'll have my server patched in a minute… anything I have the source code to, no problem. It's all the commercialised crap that's a problem.

-----

make[1]: Leaving directory `/tmp/portage/app-shells/bash-4.2_p48/work/bash-4.2/po'

>>> Completed installing bash-4.2_p48 into /tmp/portage/app-shells/bash-4.2_p48/image/

strip: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-strip --strip-unneeded -R .comment -R .GCC.command.line -R .note.gnu.gold-version

bin/bash

ecompressdir: bzip2 -9 /usr/share/man

ecompressdir: bzip2 -9 /usr/share/info

ecompressdir: bzip2 -9 /usr/share/doc

>>> Done.

>>> Installing (1 of 3) app-shells/bash-4.2_p48

>>> Setting SELinux security labels

-----

Told you so. :-)

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Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights

Stuart Longland
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Re: Here We Go Again.

In other words, if the authorities can't beat the "terrorists", they should join them?

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

Stuart Longland
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Not quite. X works over a network almost transparently.

RDP isn't quite the same experience.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Wow so much copying Microsoft..

I seem to recall FVWM2 existing a little bit before Windows Chicago (to use the name it had back then) and featuring a task bar and start menu.

Then again, maybe I recall incorrectly. Someone like to clear this up?

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Stuart Longland
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Re: at least half a decade??@Roland

On another note... (and this isn't aimed at your comment) I find it ludicrous when people (here and other forums) whine about low resolution display (1366x768) on new 15" laptops when I often see middle-aged users cranking the display resolutions "to bigger setting" in their FHD 20+" displays - meaning 1366x768 or even lower...

And for those of us who don't have crummy eyesight and want to fit a decent amount on our displays?

I chose my laptop (Panasonic Toughbook CF-53) on a number of criteria. Amongst the things I chose it for was for legacy device support (PCMCIA, RS-232), a large number of USB ports (2x USB2, 2x USB3), modern niceties like HDMI and well-supported hardware components (Intel graphics, Intel WIFI).

Sadly, one area I did have to compromise on was the display. I wasn't after "Retina Display" level resolution, but 1600×1000 would work okay. Or better yet, 1600x1200 (you know; 4:3). That'd give good-enough resolution, and I could make the fonts big enough to make text nice and clear. More to the point, it'd match what external monitors do.

Right now if I hook a projector up, and want to have the same thing on my screen as the projector, I have to sacrifice horizontal resolution and set both to 1024×768 or put up with things being off-the-edge of my laptop screen to compensate.

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Stuart Longland
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They were… Not sure about 10.4, but certainly 10.5.

As for Linux, it's been a feature of the window manager you use. FVWM has had virtual desktops for years, I remember them back in the late 90's.

It's nice to see Microsoft has finally acknowledged the usefulness of a feature that users of other platforms have enjoyed for decades.

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Le whoops! Microsoft France boss blows lid off 'Windows 9' event

Stuart Longland
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Re: Hang on there sailor...

Isn't alt.humor.puns an OS X plist file?

You wish

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Stuart Longland
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A way to create certain disunity surely…

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Stuart Longland
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Seeing someone else repeating that makes me smile. The name really has stuck, not sure whether others had a similar idea before I posted it here (and on alt.humor.puns).

I think Microsoft will have difficulty shaking it off if they do decide to brand it as "Windows 9".

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Stop! Take a breath...

Indeed… Windows 2000 was decent for its time. Modern enough to support features like true plug-and-play, USB, etc… but still reasonably solid, and fast on modest hardware compared with other Windows releases.

I used to run the release candidate quite happily on a Pentium 133MHz with 64MB RAM, and it used to run that smoother than it ran Windows 95.

Windows XP just felt bloated by comparison, even on hardware supposedly "designed" for it. My old laptop I used at uni, a P4 1.7GHz with 2GB RAM, ran much better on Windows 2000 than it ever did under its native Windows XP. (And it ran Linux better again.)

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'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV

Stuart Longland
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Re: but Windows Phone ...

And the masses thinking they were free of that sodding paperclip choose C.

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Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list

Stuart Longland
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Executives reportedly told pleading staff that "we sell hammers".

Yes, the very hammers you will now be bludgeoned with by irate customers and security staff.

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Facebook's Oculus unveils 360-degree VR head tracking Crescent Bay prototype

Stuart Longland
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Re: headphones

Why? Are you deaf?

Personally I look at that, and think how front-heavy the thing must be. Most of the electronics is in that ski-mask bit. Not to mention, you're either got it on blocking your vision, or got it off completely. So if you need to quickly look at something, tough.

I would've thought perhaps a design more like a hard hat, with (perhaps beefier) headphones and having the mask part flip up would be a little more balanced on the head.

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Oh God the RUBBER on my SHAFT has gone wrong and is STICKING to things

Stuart Longland
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Cheap rubber

Why is it that the most expensive kit is afflicted with the stuff?

Yaesu have this problem on their flagship (or maybe previous flagship, I think they've got a new one) hand-held radio, the VX-8. There's a rubberised knob on the top that operates the menu and controls the volume. Many people are finding that after six months, this knob is turning into putty.

Not good on a radio that costs >AU$500.

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DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster

Stuart Longland
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Re: Or...

You could just buy them a nice bicycle and not need fuel.

Not sure that'd work well in combat. This would probably be made as part of the backpack, and so all they have to do is turn it on. They don't have to run to the bike, jump on, and start pedalling.

Plus, the amount of gear they carry, I think the bike would soon start to fall to bits.

This bike goes through a pannier rack every 2000 km or so with a load of approximately 10kg. I had to replace the original wheels (pictured) with newer ones designed for downhill mountain-bike racing as I started popping rear wheel spokes at an alarming rate. Ohh, and I've managed to strip the thread in the bolt-holes for the pannier rack: I've had to make modifications and customised brackets to fit everything.

My take-off times are not stellar: I accelerate like a heavily laden semi-trailer.

Admittedly the military should be able to do better than the made-in-Taiwan stuff that I can get my hands on and a soldier should be a good bit fitter than I am, but I have my doubts about bicycles in this scenario.

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

Stuart Longland
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Re: ... education programs to stop Australians pirating

I guess they like preaching to the choir.

"Ever had a video that wasn't quite right?" Yeah sure, the pirated one that lacked all the crappy promos and anti-piracy nonsense that no one cares about.

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Stuart Longland
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I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?

I move half a terabyte a month through VPN that is legitimate. It's part of being a journalist. I will sometimes get copies of VMs for analysis, or troves of e-mails...but I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?

I am not a lawyer, however I think the onus of proof should be on the BBC to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you are pirating, not that you could be pirating.

After all, just because I was born with two hands does not mean I'm guilty of strangling someone to death.

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It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

Stuart Longland
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As another post pointed out (with the relevan Raymond Chen explanation), it was a design decision to forbid open files to be replaced in Windows because the risks were bigger than benefits (Windows and it applications usually heavily relies on shared libraries)

Actually, the problem is a concern over ABI changes breaking message passing between threads. This post references this Technet article which explains the problem quite clearly.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that DLLs in Windows do not carry any version information in the file name (for historical reasons: DOS only supported 8-character file names), so a library is likely to get called something like "foo.dll" and an update would simply replace that file.

On a Unix-like system, it'd be called "libfoo.so.2", where the .2 is the ABI version number of libfoo. Thus allowing multiple parallel instances of the library. The application requests whichever version it was linked against, and so it's possible to have different applications linked against different versions.

Handling message passing ABIs is the developer's problem and in my observation, isn't a "problem" that occurs all that often.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Windows.

You ALWAYS had an SP3 disk and ran that before connecting to the update server. Same thing for the Office SPs if you were dependent on them.

Ohh, and where do I download the Windows 7 Service Pack 2 installer from?

On Debian-based Linux distributions, if it downloads an update, you'll find it in /var/cache/apt/archives until it's cleaned up by a cron job (assuming the cron job exists). I can back that up before a re-install, then do a dpkg -i *.deb on the contents after install to get back the updates I had.

What's the Microsoft way of doing this without involving additional servers? I note the instructions for WSUS explicitly require some version of Windows Server. That's great for enterprise that uses it but what about home users? Are we expected to shoehorn a server version of Windows onto a laptop just so we can save time deploying fixes to the neighbour's computer when it needs a reload?

I'll admit I'm ignorant about some aspects of Windows as I rarely use it myself, however I'm unaware of any patch bundle released from Microsoft equivalent to the old service packs (that they no longer seem to produce) or is able to generate from the current published lists of service packs. At best you have to download each and every one separately, then you spend a good hour just double-clicking on .exe files to install them.

Bearing in mind of course, I've seen less need to rebuild a Linux box than a Windows one. There's a good reason I can still remember two Windows 95 OEM keys off-by-heart despite not having used the OS in over a decade. Windows has improved over the years of course, but sometimes things get so bent out of shape, the only option is to bulldoze the lot and rebuild.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Linux no-reboot patching can be a mixed blessing.

Yep, more than once I've been bitten having got a machine up, left it running, then it's had to be rebooted and then needs hand-holding once more to get it working properly again.

My workplace's mail server (Zarafa atop Zentyal Small Business Server) is one in my care that comes to mind.

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spɹɐʍʞɔɐB writing is spammers' new mail filter avoidance trick

Stuart Longland
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How long did it take the Editor to write that title?

RC=0 stuartl@vk4msl-mb ~ $ hexdump \

-e '8/1 "%02x ""|"" "' \

-e '8/1 "%_p" "\n"' \

/tmp/title.txt

73 70 c9 b9 c9 90 ca 8d| sp......

ca 9e c9 94 c9 90 42 20| ......B

77 72 69 74 69 6e 67 20| writing

69 73 20 73 70 61 6d 6d| is spamm

65 72 73 27 20 6e 65 77| ers' new

20 6d 61 69 6c 20 66 69| mail fi

6c 74 65 72 20 61 76 6f| lter avo

69 64 61 6e 63 65 20 74| idance t

72 69 63 6b 0a | rick.

Very cute.

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Moto 360 wristputer batt boob, elderly internals revealed in teardown

Stuart Longland
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Re: Is it just me?

The image there is after they've removed the memory chip from on top of the processor, so presumably more extreme heating (i.e. desoldering) was required for that.

Ahh, forgot TI's love for stacking chips on top of each other. The blast of a hot air gun would be enough to dislodge neighbouring components.

This would explain a lot. I was looking at those components and thinking, How is this thing even operable? BGAs are fussy beasts when it comes to alignment and one chip looked way off as did the discrete components (not sure if they're caps or resistors).

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Stuart Longland
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Is it just me?

Or do some of the surface mount components to the right of the CPU look a little skewed?

Slap-dash PCB production much?

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Mozilla certification revocation: 107,000 websites sunk by untrusted torpedo

Stuart Longland
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Re: If you still use a 1024-bit RSA key such as PGP, it's time to start using ECC-based keys

I guess they downvoted because I mentioned OpenPGP which isn't TLS.

However, I'm pretty sure the older SSL stacks out there don't support ECC either. Yandex still uses SSLv3 for example. Does switching to an ECC-based certificate lock you out of their search engine?

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Stuart Longland
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If you still use a 1024-bit RSA key such as PGP, it's time to start using ECC-based keys

He added this recommendation: "If you still use a 1024-bit RSA key for any other purpose, such as a Secure Shell (SSH) or PGP, it is past time to consider those obsolete and start rolling out stronger keys, of at least 2048 bits, and using ECC-based keys where available"

Mmmm, hmm, and just how many open-source implementations are there for ECC OpenPGP? GnuPG 2.1 is still in development and is not ready for production.

I did experiment with it, I like having a reasonably secure key in a small space, specifically I was looking at it for AX.25. But it's still a fair way off.

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OwnCloud: Fiddly but secure host-from-home sync 'n' share

Stuart Longland
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Thumb Up

Re: Like it a lot.

I stumbled on OwnCloud (back in v5) when I went looking for a shared calendar/files solution. I help with my local branch of the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network here in Brisbane and we needed a way to keep track of upcoming emergency communications exercises.

When I saw OwnCloud, I immediately jumped to it. I run an instance on a server I control, and we're able to keep relevant forms, meeting minutes and upcoming events all together. Since I host it locally, it's also feasible to make some of it accessible via an AX.25 BBS for packet radio access.

Most have been able to figure it out and it works quite well on modest hardware. It would also work on shared hosting. For charity groups, I'd recommend it.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Stuart Longland
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Re: Weak

I'm sure Alistair would happily refund double the money you paid him… all $0 of it.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Deploying a build

It's not a sexual euphemism, but I always equate "deploying a build" to "having a poo"

That about sums up the quality of some software I've seen too…

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Stuart Longland
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Let us not forget about terms like

Floppy, and in some places, stiffy.

I'll just leave this here.

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Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

Stuart Longland
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Nice idea, but…

- That microphone looks waay too far away to be useful if you're riding at any speed (it'll pick up too much wind noise)

- LED headlamp, good, but you can buy one that sticks on with velcro and will easily outperform the one they show there.

- Above-ear speakers: a plus is that they won't stop you hearing what's going on around you, how effective they'll be in traffic or at speed is another matter.

It has not escaped my observation that where I live, helmets that cover the ear (but still provide vent slots) are starting to become more popular, and I myself still prefer my motorcycle helmet even if it is a bit heavier.

I feel safer with something a little more rugged on my head. The option of brims that provide decent shade or visors for shielding against rain is something I've never seen on any bicycle helmet, and the fact it covers the ears means I can hear noises over the top of the wind noise that'd otherwise be whistling in my ear canals. It also makes embedding a headset easier.

My biggest concern though, helmets are effectively a consumable item, replaced every 5-10 years. Over time the memory foam becomes brittle and the helmet less effective. How easily is this electronic goodness transferred from one helmet to the other?

With mine: the visors are just a standard 3-stud attachment. The headset speakers attach with velcro. The headset microphone is simply wedged into one side. The headlight is simply held on by 8 velcro dots. Helmet need replacing? No problem, walk into any motorcycle shop, hand over $50, transfer the bits over, dump old helmet in nearest bin.

This looks like it's one very expensive monolithic lump. I'd personally like to see bicycle helmets become more modular, perhaps with studs/velcro patches to allow these items to be attached/detached by the end user at will. The studs of course for exterior accessories like lights, headsets, visors, cameras, rear vision mirrors, etc, and velcro patches for interior sensors.

Then a project like this, which has some good ideas, becomes feasible, as it's just bolt-on accessories onto an existing helmet that is bought cheaply and easily replaced.

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Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds

Stuart Longland
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However if you have 150Meg + internet speeds most routers struggle to keep up (especially once you want more advanced options like traffic shaping), thats why I now use dd-wrt for wireless access points, site to site bridges and cat5 wireless clients and then a low power x64 atom box running pf sense for gateways where ever possible.

Personally, that's a problem I'd love to have. Unfortunately moving isn't an option, and nor is broadband faster than 20Mbps ADSL2+.

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

Stuart Longland
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Re: Infrared driving?

Good ideas, BUT… I, as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist, must be able to see YOU.

So you will need at least some lights on, and I'd suggest the headlights presently used on vehicles would be a good option.

"VIDAR" as you call it might be doable in a car, but it's going to be clumbersome to achieve with a motorcycle helmet, and practically impossible for cyclists and pedestrians, who do need to be able to see your car coming when crossing roads.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Oh gawd, retina-searing xenon lights were bad enough, the last thing we need is a BMW with lasers mounted on the front.

A "beamer" in more ways than one?

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Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen

Stuart Longland
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Re: Is it just me…

I am seriously thinking of doing any payments in shops with cash ONLY!

Until very recently, I did not have a debit card. I have a prepaid one issued by the local post office which I've now used exactly 3 times, for purchasing items from online stores (two here in Australia, one in the UK). I reload it by taking cash to the post office and presenting the card to be reloaded. The only way I get cash out, is to go visit my bank branch and present my passbook.

The card gets used when no other payment options exist: my preference is to do cash, BPay direct deposit, or use this debit card; in that order.

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Stuart Longland
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Facepalm

Is it just me…

or is someone else asking: "Who on earth uses anything other than cash to buy low-cost items like icecreams?"

If someone was going to spend more than $50 at a place, fine, bring out the plastic, but otherwise it's needlessly overcomplicating a process.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned and distrust modern finance systems too much.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

Stuart Longland
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Re: Look at the BIOS

I don't suppose the universe is designed for multiple reboots. Let's hope we can avoid BSOD here...

It predates Microsoft, so we should be safe.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Sub-heads

El Reg was over Galileo like a flyvulture on a carcass. And it smells wonderful.

Fixed that for you.

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It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

Stuart Longland
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Re: Business cards??

Because the keys are too big to put on even 2D barcodes (even I suspect the color barcodes once touted by Microsoft).

In the interests of science, I tried it anyway.

You can do it with 2 QR codes. I used ZFEC to encode it into 4 QR codes, so you can scan any two and get my public key.

ZFEC is available at https://tahoe-lafs.org/trac/zfec/

The monstrosity looks like this: http://www.longlandclan.yi.org/~stuartl/pubkey.png

How it was generated:

$ gpg -o /tmp/pubkey.gpg --export 4DFA191410BDE3B7

$ zfec -m 4 -k 2 pubkey.gpg

$ for f in pubkey.gpg.?_?.fec; do qrencode -o $f.png -8 < $f; pngtopnm < $f.png > $f.pnm; done

$ pnmcat -lr pubkey.gpg.[01]_4.fec.pnm > pubkey.gpg.top.pnm

$ pnmcat -lr pubkey.gpg.[23]_4.fec.pnm > pubkey.gpg.bot.pnm

$ pnmcat -tb pubkey.gpg.top.pnm pubkey.gpg.bot.pnm > pubkey.pnm

$ pnmtopng < pubkey.pnm > pubkey.png

Note this will not fit on a business card unless you have a very high resolution scanner and printer available.

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NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial

Stuart Longland
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Headmaster

Only 96mbps?

Call me when they can send faster than I can operate a morse code paddle.

I don't care for a data link that runs so slow I can watch each bit cruise past on the oscilloscope at the blistering pace of almost one bit every 10 seconds.

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