* Posts by David Hicks

1243 posts • joined 22 Apr 2008

NOTW hack-hackage: Inside the personal data press mess

David Hicks

Surely there already are offences

For computer hacking, which this effectively is?

No?

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Bug-Byte Manic Miner

David Hicks
Go

Wow, Manic Miner

First game we had for the C64 when I was but a little'un.

I remember Eugene's Lair very well. As soon as you get the last key, Eugene goes and sits on the portal, blocking you. Timing it perfectly was essential.

Any game that progressed past Eugene's Lair was a success and felt like breaking exciting new ground.

Maybe I ought to go download it.

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UK will obey barmy Euro unisex-insurance rules from 2013

David Hicks

Maybe...

Maybe when your nephew has 20 years experience they'll offer the same to him.

What do you mean it's not possible to get 20 years experience by age 17?

He's just not trying hard enough...

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David Hicks

Mandating >40% of one gender

is not treating people fairly as individuals. It's the opposite, it's treating people as part of a group and giving them advantage or disadvantage based on that group.

Mandating that they all get the same access to insurance regardless of gender is treating people fairly.

(Please note before replying that I'm some sort of sexist pig that I have no vested interest in keeping any gender ratios as they are or really any interest at all in boards at all. I'll start worrying about the fairness of the glass ceiling when I get out from under the glass carpet. The boardroom is not accessible to 99.9999 percent of men either. If adding some old girls to the old boys club that you still will never be part of, makes you happy, good for you)

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Samsung NS310 netbook

David Hicks
Linux

Actually performance may well be pretty good

There are a lot of hurdles to overcome, depending on the exact hardware as you say, but once it's up and running you can get decent performance out of a hackintosh netbook.

I gave up after a while as something about MacOS started to annoy me, but on my eee it ran well enough to run steam and play a few games like Plants Vs Zombies, and iTunes was fine too. Eventually went back to Linux though.

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David Hicks

It still feels like the eee901 was top of the curve here

Decent battery life, solid state storage, linux option (yeah, I know, only us geeks care about that), about 300 quid.

Things are now shinier and can have better battery life. They have not got cheaper (in the UK), and they have all got hard drives now. Otherwise there's almost no difference.

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Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

David Hicks
Devil

Oh you can never leave...

...that''s just not how it works.

You have been entertaining, which is most of what counts in this world, so good luck with future ventures :)

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NBN Co launches satellite services

David Hicks

6Mbps?

That's more than I can get in my part of Perth!

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Hackers pierce network with jerry-rigged mouse

David Hicks

Some detection possible?

In order to emulate a keyboard *and* a mouse, one would have thought that you'd need a USB hub chip in there too, at which point you have a policy that could deny the use of hubs, probably.

I may be wrong of course, there could be a way to have mouse hardware + teensy pretend to be a logitech composite input device. But either way, to be able to send keypresses I have a feeling the system needs to recognise it as slightly more than a mouse.

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Samsung NC110 matte-screen netbook

David Hicks

Rip off Britain?

Looks like you can buy it in the US for under $300.

Hell, you can get it in Australia for $360 (AUD).

Sure there's tax to contend with, but 329 quid is an outrageous liberty to be taking with the British public.

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50 day lullaby of Lulzsec is over .. for now

David Hicks

If they are Sk1pt KiDD!355

Then god help us all, because if script kiddies can do that then think what real talent could do.

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Nokia unveils Contractual Obligation Meego Phone

David Hicks

Yeah, I know

But it is an extra thing to carry. i like the slidy keyboard on the N900. I know it's a brick compared to a lot of the newest smart phoens, but that doesn't bother me all that much.

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David Hicks

Almost sold

There are some good hardware upgrades there, but NO KEYBOARD?

The physical keyboard is the only thing that makes using things like the python development environment and the terminal in any way tolerable!

And no, there's not really a joke or any sarcasm in that. I actually like being able to do that sort of thing on my phone.

The sad thing is that it's still probably the best phone on the market for the likes of me.

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EFF backs away from Bitcoin

David Hicks

Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble...

Bitcoin is in a speculative bubble. A serious one. It is pretty much only used to speculate and trade. There is virtually nothing you can actually use it for that approaches normal economic activity. Most of the currency seems to be in private hoards.

I don't imagine that the value will crash immediately the exchange opens up again, but I do expect it will crash when the current wave of media attention wanes due to press/public boredom. Unless a real economy starts to function in bitcoin it is not and never will be an actual currency.

The fact that most of its proponents are all treating it as an investment says a lot. Expect tears before bedtime.

And that's even if the current rash of hacks, breakins and trojans subsides.

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WTF are... connected appliances?

David Hicks

Soon, in a fridge near you -

Third day, scared and all alone in the cold and the dark. Why do they hate me? #lastsausageinthepack

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David Hicks
Coat

Clearly, in order to complement the smart fridge...

... we require the Smart Sausage!

Not only will the upcoming smart sausage know it's the only one left in the pack and it'll be able to monitor it's own internal state so you'll never throw away another good sausage.

Not only that but as part of the smarter home network, your Smart Sausage will be able to monitor your bowels on the way down and tweet any medical recommendations!

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Web authentication authority suffers security breach

David Hicks
WTF?

These are not weaknesses in SSL/TLS

They are weaknesses in the current PKI. And yes, the PKI is thoroughly broken. There are too many vendors supported by default in all the browsers, virtually guaranteeing that at least one is vulnerable to some sort of attack.

Perhaps the browser makers should perform a thorough audit of each authority before allowing it in?

Or perhaps it's time for some other clever PKI scheme... not a clue how you'd go about making a better one though. There must be a way!

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Well, that about wraps it up for the NBN

David Hicks
Facepalm

Umm... you functionally moronic?

Seriously, the NBN is about putting in decent, modern infrastructure, which is exactly what this country needs. Doing that at less than 100MB in this day and age would be ridiculous and unlikely any cheaper.

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David Hicks
FAIL

Shove it where the sun don't shine, Turnbull

I live in Perth. If I could get reliable 10 Mbit maybe I wouldn't care so much about the NBN, but sure as hell something needs to be done if I can't get more than 3-4 in a state capital! And that's on a good day!

Australia still doesn't seem to get this "internet" thing. Retailers haven't realised they actually have to compete with overseas offerings now, and the government doesn't seem to have realised that part of the reason Australians don't use the 'net all that much is because the infrastructure is out of the stone age.

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Bitcoin collapses on malicious trade

David Hicks

One compromised account

One, single, compromised account managed to crash the market completely. Wow.

And the reactions to the 'rollback' are understandable. What's done is done. Anyone that bought low (and had half a brain) would have moved the coins out of mtgox as soon as possible. The rest is just compensation to people who lost out.

Also it's amusing that the guy says Bitcoin will be back around 17.5 when the market is restored! Undoing a bunch of trades surely doesn't magically make it worth what it was before...?

This whole thing just shows exactly how shaky the bitcoin economy is. The high value is there simply because the volumes are so damned low. Any one of the early adopters that's sitting on a few thousand 'coins' could destroy the whole thing at a stroke.

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What a mix-up: using different hypervisors

David Hicks

Oh, a mixed estate

I thought we were going to be investigating hypervisor stacking.

Running KVM on Hyper-V under VMWare ESX, just for a laugh...

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Man says he lost $500,000 in virtual currency heist

David Hicks

That devaluing has a purpose

The purpose being to keep money flowing. If money never devalues then people hoard it.

And so you get what we had here (before the theft), people hoarding masses and masses of bitcoins, but the actual volume of the bitcoin economy being so low and so unstable that this one guy could have caused the value to plummet by selling up. And he didn't even have that huge a treasure trove.

I hope you haven't sunk too much 'IRL' cash into the scheme, but if you have then... well good luck I guess. You're going to need it.

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David Hicks

Riiiiight

And it's totally not a scheme for early adopters to hoard coins and cash out at the expense of later users... totally, yet this guy somehow has a hoard of 25,000 of them.... And if the market couldn't handle about 0.25% of the coin supply being put up for sale then the bitcoin 'economy' is clearly mostly made up of these hoarders.

Also if there's no way to show or pursue theft then somebody also f*cked up the system design.

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Android tablet

David Hicks

Probably not yet

Nvidia haven't released open source graphics drivers for these for Tegra2 yet, there's no free alternative as far as I know, and I'm pretty sure there's no closed source driver for generic, non-android linux either.

Good plan, but not quite available yet.

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Google Instant Pages: Search sites rendered before you click

David Hicks

At least they could give us a way to switch most of it off

That would be nice.

I've found a way to stop the irritating preview panels appearing by blocking some of the stuff involved with adblock.

I too miss the days when there was just a logo, a text input box and some results.

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Bitcoin slump follows senators’ threats

David Hicks

Shakes the establishment?

LOL.

Some think of the children type mentioned the drug trade and Bitcoin to a couple of Senators who figured they could use it for some more "tough on crime" political posturing. That is all.

Note that while it may be out of their control at the moment, if made illegal it will wither up and die as the mainstream avoid it.

Also LOL @ the standard "OMG we're enslaved by money" rant.

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David Hicks
Trollface

I'm not sure it's a matter of being keen on it

So much as seeing what it is - a flawed attempt at wresting monetary control away from government. It suffers from a variety of problems (mostly related to the limited supply and mining) and its image isn't helped by the fanbase of people who don't think they should have to pay any taxes, ever....

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US senators draw a bead on Bitcoin

David Hicks

Still not a threat

Anything that can (and will) be squashed with a simple law is no threat.

Maybe you and I see the definition of the word threat differently. Whilst it does have claws and teeth, I wouldn't consider a housecat a threat. In the same way I don't think anyone would see bitcoin as a threat. It's not only.

If you want to change taxation, if you want to reform the monetary system (and this meme does seem to be growing), if you want to reduce the control that the government has over everything, these are not bad aims. Picking up a new currency, especially a flawed one, is not going to work without associated political reforms.

And I'll repeat - it doesn't matter what currency you use, the government can and will find a way to tax you.

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David Hicks

Adding people ups the value

Or haven't you noticed?

And therefore those that already have bitcoins get better off the more people that use it. Not because they get more bitcoins, but because they have more bitcoins already, and the new miners can't make anything like the same amount as the production rate of coins drops sharply over time.

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David Hicks

Look, I object to high taxes as much as the next fella

And I'm as suspicious as anyone else as to what the government spend it on.

However, for bitcoin to be taken seriously as a threat to entrenched interests, it would have to be able to be taken seriously on a large scale by a wide selection of the population. I'm quite comfortable predicting that it won't be.

Add to that that making bitcoin transactions and conversion into 'real' money illegal acts would be both easy as a stroke of a pen and effective in massively reducing the potential audience and therefore its viability as a currency. No, it's not a threat to anyone.

A real popular movement with a replacement currency that was actually viable, sure. Bitcoin, no.

As for your Rothschild quotes, well you may want to think about applying them to the early adopters and their very profitable early mining activities. They may not control the currency, but they sure as hell made sure they got the lion's share of it early on.

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David Hicks

WOW, seriously?

Bitcoin doesn't threaten anyone, it's a niche attempt at a currency that's going to fall flat on its arse.

Leaving aside the built in hyper-deflation, bitcoin is no threat to anyone that wants to spy on transactions or tax you because (and this is if it isn't flat out banned) -

1 - It stores the details of its provenance, certainly the last transaction. Unless you launder it. There's a good reason money laundering is illegal in the real world. Expect it to become so online also.

2 - You will be taxed if you have significant bitcoin income, one way or another. There are only two certainties in life, death and taxes. Never forget this.

But a threat to existing interests? Sorry but that's laughable. Worst case for bitcoin is that it's made illegal. Not because it couldn't survive, but because the numbers of people needed to keep it useful wouldn't be there.

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David Hicks

Yup, interesting idea but fundamentally flawed, IMHO

Over a third of all the bitcoins that will ever exist are already in the hands of a very few people. In the theoretical situation in which bitcoin actually goes into wide use, these people get to be instantly rich due to massive deflation, because no matter how many people join in, the rate of new bitcoins being created is held constant, approaching a limit somewhere around 21 million.

Massive and continuing deflation will not only make these current holders of bitcoin rich, but will also mean that nobody spends them. If the value of currency is going to be more tomorrow than it is today, why hold on to it?

In a 'real' currency this isn''t as much of a problem, because people still have to eat and therefore spend. Bitcoin is not going to be anyone's primary currency in the mid term though, just a secondary.

So what should sensible folks do now? Probably, I think, mine some bitcoins and hang on to them for a while, just in case ten years down the line the deflationary disaster has somehow been averted and 1 bitcoin is suddenly worth a million quid....

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Wake up, Linux hippies: No one 'morally obligated' to give back

David Hicks
Trollface

Morally? Who cares?

Now contractually, that's different. Using GPL and similar copyleft licenses, companies are legally bound to give back any improvements or derivative works they distribute. This seems to me like a great arrangement - if companies want to sell FOSS stuff they can, but everybody gets rights to the source code of binaries they receive. Plus additions and improvements make their way back up the line, slowly, so the hobbyists and other geeks and freaks are happy.

Whether the benefit gained by the firm is 'morally' equal to the amount they give back is irrelevant.

Morality only ever seems to come into the conversation when you throw BSD zealots into the mix, because apparently giving things away with no restriction is a morally superior action. Also not using this right to clam up and give nothing back is supposed to be the moral thing to do. Witness the outrage when some wireless drivers were copied from BSD to Linux, improved and put under GPL....

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Digital shoppers ripped off @.com.au

David Hicks
Meh

Let me know when they look into physical goods

Especially cars!

Australia is even more ripped off than the UK. The price of goods from foreign providers, including shipping halfway across the planet, should not be cheaper than buying locally. But it is, and by far more than the GST.

Just a shame you''re not allowed to get cars shipped from other countries.

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Nokia: regular WinPho handset releases through 2012

David Hicks

We've been trolled by Nokia right?

They went from the undisputed world leader in handsets to a company that put out so many slightly different phones that nobody knew the difference, all of which were adequate at best. Destroyed by their own internal competition, management squabbling and adherence to an outdated, broken GUI system.

So then they announced a total turnaround, a move to a new OS (even though they had invested several years in a next-gen OS of their own), new management strategies, new everything!

And other than the OS the fist major new strategy is .... wait for it ... exactly the same strategy that screwed them up last time!

This has to be a joke of some form. In a month or two they're going to announce the new Meego-running Nokia N and the Nokia F featurephone. All other models will be canned, this Winphone 7 thing will be abandoned and Elop is going to go on TV just to say "psych!"

Right?

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Total Recall rehash – exit Martians, enter Jessica Biel

David Hicks

This is why we can't hve nice things

First the AHNULD version, and now the Underworld version! Great! Why not lets just go piss on Phil's grave?

OTOH, Bill Nighy is a good move, he was in Sean of the Dead so he can do no wrong.

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BlueStacks lets Android apps frolic on PCs

David Hicks
Linux

Is this not overkill?

Surely you just need to get Dalvik running on another OS rather than running a whole VM for this?

Or am I just not thinking cloudy enough?

Humbug I say!

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Danish embassy issues MARMITE WAFFLE

David Hicks
Flame

As an expat, a homebrewer and a marmite lover...

... let me say - I should be so lucky!

Paying Australian specialty-shop prices for Brit-Mite* is no fun at all!

(*it has to be relabelled due to Marmite already being a thing here, it's another yeast extract spread but it's just not the same)

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35m Google Profiles dumped into private database

David Hicks
Stop

Can we all agree now?

That if you put information online in a way that it's accessible to anybody else at all, you've made it public?

And that even if you haven't made it accessible to anyone else, you've probably made it public anyway?

And that if you don't want information to get into the hands of hackers/your boss/your mum, it's best not to publish it in the first place?

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Brit expats aghast as Denmark bans Marmite

David Hicks

Fortified with vitamins and iron!

Have they banned cornflakes too?

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3D fad fades for Yanks

David Hicks
FAIL

3D at the cinema will remain a novelty

Until 3D at home takes off.

3D at home will never take off until there's some decent 3D content available. There's really not very much of that around, and the price of a 3D Bluray movie is currently in the awesomely ridiculous range.

No, sorry, I'm not paying 60 bucks for that post-processed fake-stereoscopic nonsense, nor for that hastily re-rendered version of a five year old animated movie.

I like stereoscopic 3D, but it's hard to see how the industry could make the market for it any worse if they tried.

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Catch of the Day hauls A$80m

David Hicks
Stop

Online retail in australia...

“It is still early days in Australia when it comes to online retail and to support our next phase of growth we were open to overseas investors who could share a different perspective into the online retail market, as well as bring new skills, advice and contacts to further our growth and expansion,” they said.

I'm sure a different perspective would be useful. it would be most useful if applied to the Australian government who make Aussie retail the joke it is at the moment. Why would I bother ordering from an Australia site when I (as a private citizen) can get good delivered from overseas more cheaply than the retailers are allowed to buy them from the importers? Importers who, AFAICT, are given legal monopoly status which allows them to set whatever price they like and gives retailers no recourse to the international marketplace.

Of course high prices on imports are part of the idea it seems, to stimulate Australian business. Except I'm afraid I don't know of any Aussie branded TV or computer hardware, and if there is any I'm sure they're just a brand on top of chinese, korean, japanese or other asian manufacturing.

Time for Oz to drop this spectacular legal/monetary screwup and embrace the free market.

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Eureka! Google breakthrough makes SSL less painful

David Hicks

Who missed the point?

The delay of latency may be for every packet, but this improvement only saves one round trip when an SSL connection is set up. That does not happen for every packet.

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David Hicks

Not yet

There are a lot of problems with PKI, a hell of a lot. But it's still better than nothing at the present time.

I fully agree that browsers now ship far too many 'trusted' roots, however there is currently a reasonable expectation that the nerd sitting at the next table at the coffeeshop is probably not going to be able to silently hijack everything you do with a browser plugin. This day may come, but we're not there yet.

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David Hicks

I've just started reading the draft paper

It eliminates the certificate exchange steps.

I haven't finished reading the paper yet so I'm not sure how they justify this, but so far it's not sounding like a great security move. It uses a mechanism that seems to be related to resuming dropped connections.

Whilst I do understand the protocol pretty intimately, I'm no security researcher. I wonder what Moxie Marlinspike will make of it....

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David Hicks
Boffin

Update to previous message

I *think* they just left the cert authentication bits out of their "False Start" TLS handshake diagram, instead of skipping it durng False Start handshake. But here's the kicker for me -

"Note that the TLS client cannot infer the presence of an authenticated server until all handshake messages have been received. With False Start, unlike with the default handshake behavior, applications are able to send data before this point has been reached"

Then -

"the security goal is to ensure that if anyone at all can decrypt the application data sent in a False Start, this must be the legitimate peer: while an attacker could be influencing the handshake ... the attacker should not be able to benefit from this. "

So TLS False Start allows some application data to be sent before full authentication has been assured, but an attacker shouldn't be able to get at it. As yet I don't understand what they're doing in-depth enough to say if this leaves security holes. However, the idea of sending data before the handshake has been properly authenticated is a weird one and as I said before, I'd be really interested to get the insight of one of the hardcore SSL hackers like Mr Marlinspike.

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Schmidt: 'Elites' not 'common men' fret over net privacy

David Hicks

Didn't know I was an elite

Guess I am though!

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Intel: Windows on ARM won't run 'legacy apps'

David Hicks

By legacy I assume they mean

Anything not .Net, right?

.Net is hardware independent so that programs can run on windows of any flavour. Good strategy I suppose.

I gues sit all depends just how legacy we're talking too - I don't think it'll be long before someone ports DosBox to Win 8 on ARM, then you can run your real legacy apps!

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Nvidia snaps out snappier Tesla GPU coprocessors

David Hicks

As someone that's been toying with OpenCL...

..I'm impressed at the performance figures.

Now if they would just put some effort into fixing the damned OpenCL compiler and runtime everyone could be happy. The total lack of feedback from the compiler on about half of all compilation errors is annoying. The fact that OpenCL kernels often compile and run and do nothing when they have blatant programming errors also doesn't help.

Still, forefront of technology and all that....

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Linux kernel runs inside web browser

David Hicks
Linux

LOL

Apparently not so much yet, the iPhone browser won't run it, instead the emulator puts up a "Browser not supported" message.

I got it running in Firefox on my N900 though :)

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