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* Posts by The Mole

117 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

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IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels

The Mole

Sunken Gardens

Look like you missed out on your tour the Sunken Gardens with it's fish pond contaiing massive Koi Carp and beautiful surroundings - a place of tranquility few offices can provide.

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Belkin patches WeMo bug

The Mole

Re: Home Automation - Security

You'll probably find on the web precise instructions of where to drill to disable the deadlock and/or how to pick the lock - potentially with little but a few scratch marks to detect someone has done it. You'll probably also find how easy it is to remove the glass from many type of double glazing units from the outside, and other ways for people to get into your house.

Just because you don't think about your deadlock doesn't mean it is inherently secure. That said home security does have the advantage that somebody actually has to be physically there to be breaking in which greatly increases the risk to them - which is the real deterrent not the actual lock.

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California takes a shot at mobile 'killswitch' mandate

The Mole

Re: Article appears to be misleading

The part you have quoted is only about disabling the technology ("The rightful owner of an advanced mobile communications device may affirmatively elect to disable the technological solution after sale")

Ergo your ergo is bogus and you haven't proved your point at all.

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Yahoo! Mail! users! change! your! passwords! NOW!

The Mole

Re: the change password dialogue

Hover over the cog on the right hand side | Settings | Change Password.

Just make sure you type it right - for some reason they don't make your confirm what you typed (though do let you show everybody your password if you want.

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Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

The Mole

Teachers actually find the erasable green biro's very useful - it looks very bad when you've written in the wrong child's book and many school mandate that they have to write in green! (Pencil is too hard to distinguish from what the kid has written, and apparently red may harm the child's self confidence or something! But I agree for the general person a pencil is sufficient - if they are actually writing anything by hand anymore.

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Security 101 fail: 3G/4G modems expose control panels to hackers

The Mole

The web browsers are partly to blame here as well. At least one of my desktop browsers (Opera I think) displays a warning if an external web page attempts to redirect you to an internal IP address. If they all did this (and for ajax calls as well of course) then this would at least make this type of attack harder to pull off purely with remote code. Of course this doesn't remove the responsibility of the device designers to actually think and prevent this type of attack as well.

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Murdoch's BSkyB stares down Microsoft: Redmond renames SkyDrive to OneDrive

The Mole

I'm not sure what the Americans have to do with it given that the legal case was all in the UK, it was up to Microsoft whether they just re-branded in the UK or worldwide (or indeed just remove the service from sale in the UK).

Given 'Sky' is the trading name of BSkyB and is the way all there advertising and customers refers to there TV service, Sky Broadband' is the name of the ISP service, and 'Sky Go' is the name for there web TV service, it is understandable that people would assume 'Sky Drive' would be the name of their online storage solution and doesn't seem dense at all. I imagine that 90% of the customers would take a while to remember that BSkyB is the actually company name.

As to your question regarding DirectTV, my guess is they don't own trademarks relating to general PC software, the markets aren't the same so any confusion doesn't matter and most importantly the general name people know DirectTV as is DirectTV and not 'Direct', BSkyB on the other hand has trademarks in providing Web based services, could sensibly launch an online storage solution (and may well in the future if they want to allow people to watch their recordings anywhere) and most importantly are generally known as 'Sky' by the general public.

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Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

The Mole

Generally in UK law the last bill passed takes precedence and implicitly amends the previous bill - the basic principle is that parliament can't be bound by decisions of past parliaments.

There's a couple of exceptions such as the Human Rights Act which explicitly has wording in that says it can't be implicitly amended instead parliament have to explicitly state that they are amending it in the later passed legislation (which they can do - although that may then be violating treaty obligations which could cause other political but not actually legal issues).

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The Mole

Regardless of the morality or ethicity of the law, a barrister (as this is the UK) doesn't have any (strong) grounds to contest the law as it has been passed into law by both houses of parliament including a declaration from the home secretary stating that it complies with the human right act.

There's always the option of going to the European Courts of Justice to get them to declare that actually it doesn't comply with the human rights act but that will take more than 4 months and a convicted terrorist probably isn't the best poster child for that campaign

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British Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing receives Royal pardon

The Mole

Re: Mahatma Dolt At last

You obviously do not understand how English law is set.

Whilst it is politicians that set the laws, they are the Queen's government, it is the Queen who signs the decree placing the bill onto the statute book and thereby making it law and it is the courts who are nominally appointed and responsible to the Queen rather being under political control.

The fact her power in all of this is largely symbolic is irrelevant*, if the Queen made a public apology it would be a symbolic act apologizing for the past actions of her Government and in fact she is the most logical person to symbolically apologize for something that happened in her nation in the past (governments come and go but the monarchy stays pretty constant).

I'm not sure what difference a symbolic apology makes for something that happened in the past but apparently to many people these things provide closure and validation or something.

* In theory she could refuse to sign bills or appoint a prime minister she didn't like, in practice that would be the fastest way to get the country to transition to a republic and have public opinion turn swiftly against her.

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Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?

The Mole

Re: There is nothing evil about the military

I think you may be confusing the difference between the people who are working for the military (who generally do a very good jobs in impossible conditions with a distinct lack of good equipment) and the military bureaucracy and general military complex (which make at times absurd decisions, seem to be designed to funnel money to corporate partners, and so for whom war is a very profitable state of affairs to be in).

The opportunity cost of where much of all that money could have been spent instead on aid, development and bribing hostile populations (in a nice way) probably does tip the military machine towards the evil end of the spectrum -(but not the poor front line troops who as you say are a generally decent bunch of people).

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The Mole

Data centre automation?

Perhaps Google are planning to get rid of humans from their data-centres. If they are able to build robots to install new servers, replace defective parts etc etc in the data centre it would probably save them money and would also mean that the data-centres can be made more 'hostile' environments which may help cooling/energy efficiency.

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LG: You can stop hiding from your scary SPY TELLY quite soon now

The Mole

Re: Sony does similar, but without any obvious filenames being sent

There certainly is personal information there, in fact in the UK I'd argue it would count as sensitive personal information. From the key presses it is relatively trivial to work out what channels you are tuning into. From the channels (for a subset of viewers) you may be able to deduce pretty accurate assessments of their religious beliefs (watching the God channel or Islam TV) or sexual life (watching porn channels gives clues in both interests and orientation).

Based on this it is just a matter whether the sensitive personal information is identifiable to a person, the IP address would be sufficient for this, particularly if the user also has a playstation account linked to a credit card.

This type of correlation isn't going to be 100% reliable or cover everybody but for a sizable minority sensitive personal information about a known individual can be deduced from the data if Sony so desired.

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From Dept of REALLY? Sueball lobbed at Apple over crap iOS Maps app

The Mole

Re: So in the UK

Under UK law at least any freebies advertised and bundled with a purchase are part of the contract and subject to exactly the same levels of consumer protection - if my complementary car mats aren't fit for purpose legally I can get the same redress as the rest of the car.

Also the device isn't called a phone, it is called a smart phone and heavily advertised as being used for multiple purposes including mapping. In particular it is reasonable to expect the quality to be broadly equivalent to previous versions of the same product something which Apple failed to do when they replaced Google Maps

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Could Doctor Who really bump into human space dwellers?

The Mole

Re: It's only a matter of time. And money.

3D printing only requires a force ensuring that the plastic is deposited and stays where place. Having the 3d printer spinning at the end of a centrifugal arm (orientated so the forces are aligned correctly) would presumably work, alternatively suction/air pressure might also be sufficient?

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If your bosses tell you you're 'in it together', don't EVER believe them

The Mole

Re: Self-Censorship

You may have an idea of what it means, but many company proxies and filters won't have a clue what is means and therefore won't flag the page up as inappropriate language and block the page (or site).

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Doctor Who's 50th year special: North American theater tix on sale Friday

The Mole

Pop bands also want you to buy their singles or go to concerts when you can hear them for free on the radio. Or why go to a football match when you can watch it for free on TV.

Most people don't have 3d TV, or immersive surround sound systems, nor will there be the same atmosphere as watching it in a big group of other people. For a one off event the money might be worth it - even if the actualy episode may end up slightly disappointing the experience may counterbalance that.

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

The Mole

Re: Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

Well when I was in primary school in the 80s I remember using Logo and floor turtles which started with simple steps and then proceeded to loops and sub procedures, also using some electronics control systems to make traffic lights and light houses - again that had loops and conditionals in it, plus out of school I went to a club to learn BBC basic. That's at least three different programming languages creating algorithms before I knew much algebra. 20-30 years on the tools and resources will have got much better with things like Raspberry Pi, Scratch and youtube videos.

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UK.gov open to hiring EX-CON hackers for cyber reserves

The Mole

Re: Computer misue act ?

It's not much different to any other type of special forces being deployed. These also happen with minimal oversight or visibility of the public. I've a feeling that is also abused but the impact of this abuse is much more deadly.

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The Mole

Load of hyperbole

There seems to be ridiculous amounts of hyperbole in these quotes. Whilst rarely as security guards many banks to hire former bank robbers as 'security experts' to advice on potential attack vectors and weaknesses.

Whilst there are some convicted hackers who were purely profit motivated these people aren't likely to apply for a poorly paid government job. There are also many convicted hackers who were motivated by the challenge of seeing what they could do. There are also those who made stupid decisions as teenagers - the digital equivalent of being drunk and disorderly.

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Do not adjust your set: TV market slows, 'connected TV' grows

The Mole

"What can a connected TV do that a tablet can’t? Not much,"

Well other than being watched by more than one person at once, from a comfortable slouching position and a good screen size to be viewed from a distance. Plus they always have a stand so you don't have to hold them up yourself.

That said isn't the main reason more connected TVs are being brought is that generally the most recent models are connected by default and there is a small price differential between them and dumb models.

There is also the fact that most people would have now upgraded from the CRT. The size of TVs has been large enough for long enough now that few people will be upgrading chasing larger sizes (particularly for bedrooms where bigger isn't always better). One of the few tangible benefits to upgrade (for most non-technical users) is it being connected.

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Streaming TV Aereo's enemies lob sueball into Supreme Court

The Mole

Re: "they have no ability to procure a warrant"

The ability for private companies to gain warrants isn't particularly uncommon. Civil Bailiffs have had the ability in order to recover bad debt for hundreds of years - in fact if they can find an unlocked door or ground floor window they are allowed to make peaceful entry. Similarly electricity companies can gain warrants in order to gain entry to change an electricity meter.

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Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates

The Mole

"No, I mean thieves. If a book/film/whatever is on sale at £10 and you steal it; you just stopped the creators getting their cut of that £10. If you copy it - it's the same thing. (And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID."

Actually if you steal a book on sale then the creator has already been paid, the shop selling it actually looses the £4 they paid the distributor (who pays the creator), they also fail to gain the £6 profit they were hoping to get (net loss £4 to shop) though in the extreme case you may have actually saved them the cost to store and eventually dispose of the item at the tip when nobody chooses to buy it even when reduced heavily.

In the second case the creator starts with nothing and gains nothing, but they also loose nothing (net loss £0).

Whether the two are morally equivalent or copy right infringement is morally less wrong is another debate.

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Scottish NHS bosses say soz after 2-day IT ballsup scrubs 700 appointments

The Mole

Re: Please speak English (or Scots)...

The patient episode was bad enough, but 're-appointed' and 're-appointment'? If they all speak like that perhaps England should disown the entire country?

The patient hasn't been appointed to a position, they have been re-booked and given a new appointment.

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Shingle me timbers! Seagate brags of 1m SMR drives - where are they?

The Mole

If the chance of getting write errors is almost zero, then having to do ten writes is still going to be almost zero. That's assuming there is any significant correlation between the number of write head activations and the number of write errors - I'd suspect it is more likely to be imperfections in the platter that end up resulting in write errors and that is more likely to occur with higher density regardless of how the density is achieved.

I don't know if they have implemented it but if the drive is using TRIM to keep track of which tracks actually have data then potentially it doesn't need to rewrite all the other tracks if they are empty anyway. This would make it particularly useful for set top boxes which tend to record/delete in large contiguous blocks, or for array rebuilding onto a fresh drive without slowdown on the initial write.

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UK mulls ban on tiny mobiles to block prison smugglers

The Mole

Re: What has it got to do with

I imagine the reason SOCA are involved is the fact that many of these phones aren't used to call family at home but instead to continue running their organised crime empire whilst behind bars.

As for the key fobs, whilst the auto makers probably don't manufacture them, they are the people who commission and aprove the design and no doubt own exclusivity and probably the copyright for the design of their particular models.

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Fanbois taught to use Apple's new killer app: Microsoft Windows

The Mole

Re: Retail Win 8

I'd guess it is OEM given they are distributing it with a new personal computing device...

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Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless Plus: Triple-tech connectivity for the home

The Mole

Re: 100Mbps < 500Mbps

Comparing raw bitrates of fundamentally different protocols can be near meaningless.

Ethernet supports full duplex operations so you will potentially be able to get nearer 200Mbps for a given link, it's also running on much better quality wiring so probably has significantly lower error correction and tollerances compared to Homeplug. Some protocols (like wireless) alternate between the hub and device communicating so you can only get at most half the data transfer in a particular direction, there's also differences in quite periods in protocols after a given device has transmitted.

That said it seems stupid not to have a gigabit chip - at the very least the ethernet connected devices would get a benefit when talking to each other. I've also never worked out why more powerline plugs don't have multiple ethernet ports - once you have one I can't believe adding a couple more adds much to the cost of production.

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Lasers to carry 622 Mbps Earth-Moon link

The Mole

Re: terrestrial

And there was I thinking the big difference was doing it between two objects in totally different orbits which I imagine is a tadge more complicated compared to doing it between two objects bolted in a fixed position to the same land mass (or failing that two continental plates moving at a relative mm/year to each other).

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Are driverless cars the death knell of the motor biz?

The Mole

This was my initial reaction and then I thought about it a bit further. For many two car families this scheme would make a lot of sense. They'd keep ownership of one car, the one they tend to use together at the weekends, for shipping road trips etc. For the majority of the time you do need two cars (commuting or other planned times) you would be able to book far in advance what time you want to arrive and will be given a scheduled regular time you will be picked up.

Public transport (whilst better than private car ownership) is on the whole very inefficient outside population centres. You have to run a constant service on the off chance that someone will want to get on board, which is probably fine at peak hours but can result in regularly empty vehicles off hours that you still have to run, as if you cut it too much people won't use it at all. A dynamic system of cars like this could much more efficiently replace public transport - on regularly busy routes during peak hours it may well end up being a scheduled fixed standard route with larger vehicles which is run.,Off peak smaller more efficient on demand cars are provided giving the best of both worlds.

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Spear phish your boss to win more security cash

The Mole

Re: How irresponsible !!!

My understanding is the Police do this sometimes, they'll relocate unattended backs/bikes etc to demonstrate people need to take more care

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MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

The Mole

Re: "pay its fair share of tax" - @ the goalpost-moving politicians:

Where there is a clear exemption that Parliament decided then that isn't a loophole. A loophole is where some accountant/lawyers takes and/or combine the exemptions and use them in a way that was never intended by parliament

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BBC boffins ponder abstruse Ikea-style way of transmitting telly

The Mole

Nothing new

This is exactly how digital TV already works. A multicast mpeg transport stream is broadcast containing separate elementary streams for each video, audio, subtitle and interactive track. There is also some metadata (PAT and PMT tables) which associate which streams go together. It's not unusual for a programme to be broadcast with multiple audio streams (english, welsh + english audiodescriptive for instance) and being able to select different video streams is also regularly used for wimbledon and similar.

There probably is scope for better metadata and user interfaces to identify what each of the streams are/package combinations together, but mostly we just seem to be in a timewarp back to when people sprinkled 'object oriented' because it is new and exciting.

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Ed Miliband brands Google's UK tax avoidance 'WRONG'

The Mole

Re: "When Google goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying its taxes, I say it’s wrong."

In the UK imposing taxes is a God given right if you want to follow (outdated rarely thought about) historical tradition and theology.

The power to impose taxes is given to Parliament by the crown - taxes can't be imposed without royal assent.

The power of the crown is given to the monarch during their coronation by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a Christian religious ceremony as the power and grace to rule is considered to be given by God.

So yes, the power to impose taxes in the UK is a God given right, and there is a big (moral) difference between minimizing your tax affairs by taking advantages of the schemes and systems parliament intended in the law, and avoiding and/or evading tax by deliberately twisting and using contrived structures and reading of the law to go far far beyond what any reasonable person would consider the spirit or intention of the laws.

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Google formally recognises Palestine: Puts it on the virtual map

The Mole

"This change raises questions about the reasons behind this surprising involvement of what is basically a private Internet company in international politics,"

perhaps should be:

"This raises questions about the reasons behind this surprising involvement of politics with what is basically a private Internet company" ?

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UK Supreme Court backs news leech in copyright fight

The Mole

Of course the web browser needs to cache the page it receives in one form or another. Otherwise every time you scrolled the page or had to repaint part of the window it would have to go fetch the webpage again.

Whether this cache is on disk or in memory, whether it is the html or a rendered view is a separate question, but either way it is storing a copy in memory (independently to the copy the graphics card is holding to display on screen).

Note the Judge says "correct and efficient" - efficient being the key word as to why the cache is needed.

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New rules to end cries of 'WTF... a £10 online booking fee?'

The Mole

I think the argument is that Direct Debit payements are much less likely to be missed. If a human has to remember to manually pay be card then they are much more likely to forget meaning that letters have to be written, phone calls made and/or debt collectors contracted. This costs time and money. They are also faced with a higher risk of fraudulent transactions as a different card may be used for every payment.

In your case why not setup a second bank account from which the direct debits are taken. If the charity has enough money it does a bank transfer to put the cash in the account 3 days before the DD is due. If it doesn't you transfer money in from your personal account?

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Bitcoin-mining malware ENSLAVES computers

The Mole

Re: Solving PI vs. time to mine one Bitcoin...

"If PI could be solved, then due to its unique never repeated series, all digital info could be compressed into just two numbers, an Index into PI and the original size of the item... That would make sending a large file over the internet potentially instant!"

Unfortunately this idea isn't worthwhile.

For a bitstream of length n there are 2^n possible values, each of them unique. This means each of them needs a separate index into PI, 2^n possible indexes., Unfortunately the due to the random nature of PI the first consecutive 2^n indexes will result in some duplicate patterns and so you'll need a larger number space for the indexes to pick every possible value - in other words for 2 digit patterns '14' may be at index 0 but '00' isn't available until index 307. This means you've now used 3 digits to represent 2 digits which isn't a good compression ratio.

I'm also not sure you can prove that every combination of sequence of digits is guaranteed to occur. the Sequence is n ones followed by a zero, followed by n+1 ones is none repeating but will never have the sequence 222 in it.

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Provider of FIFA goal line tech chosen, tracks ball in space and time

The Mole

Encrypted radio signal

My knowledge of the rules of football isn't the best, but isn't it basically the case (ignoring the offside rule and other things that system can't monitor) that if the ball crosses the line it is a goal? If the article is accurate and an encrypted signal is only and automatically sent when the ball crosses the line (1s doesn't give long enough for a human to be involved) doesn't that mean the encryption is pointless? The mere presence of the message tells you what it means.

Though I guess the encryption may actually be authentication to prove that the message is genuine.

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Sci/Tech quango promises an end to 'events with no women'

The Mole
Meh

Re: Jobs for the girls

"Note how they are making no effort to increase the representation of ethnic minorities, or those whose background is not from the "right" universities."

You obviously missed this bit in the article:

"It claimed the initiative was just the beginning of a drive to "challenge dominant ethnic, class and disability representation in public life"."

That said I totally agree with the rest of what you said...

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After Leveson: The UK gets an Orwellian Ministry of Truth for real

The Mole

Re: Plenty of regulation of the printed word

Yet the main debates and arguments seemed to be around the fact that they couldn't possibly have parliament pass a law to regulate them - even though plenty had already been passed to regulate them already. It seemed to me a deliberate attempt to reframe the debate out of reality.

The argument there are plenty of laws already covering them and it's a failing of the police to enforce them is much more convincing, and it certainly seems this new law (sorry royal charter) is badly phrased and rushed - partly because everyone was wasting time arguing semantics about the form it took not the contents of what went into it.

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The Mole
Stop

Plenty of regulation of the printed word

"After that, at last, it was a taboo for Parliament to regulate the published word - until quite recently. Regulating the press simply wasn’t British."

I'm still confused why newspapers don't think they they are currently regulated. I'm not a lawyer but off the top of my head I can name plenty of regulations which apply to the printed words and limit what newspapers can print. e.g.:

defamation law

contempt of court and stringent reporting restrictions on court proceedings

injunctions/super injunctions

obscene publications act

financial reporting regulations

fraud law

Pornography/child porn laws

Incitement

Race Relations Act

Data Protection Act

Unfair Consumer Practices Directive

Official Secrets Act

and probably many more.

Some of these may have partial exceptions for the purposes of journalism but these exceptions rarely give them free reign

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Honk if the car in front is connected

The Mole

Re: And when it all gets hacked...

Billboards telling cars there is congestion ahead so they have to slow down and read the message?

I'm not convinced how the system could ever be made secure, and even if there are new laws it it is going to be hard to prove who brought the motorway to a standstill by sending the fake message that they have just done an emergency stop.

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Turkey prepares to hand $5bn to US biz for intelligent electricity

The Mole

Re: It's free, Jim, but not as we know it.

Is it that complicate? If you don't have any thieves then Awesense will spend lots of their money trying to find them and then not charge you a penny - hence they will do the work for free. Call it No Win No Fee if you like - its exactly the same model.

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Now UK must look out for crappy SPACE weather - engineers

The Mole

They don't want it for the position, they want it for the accurate clock signal to ensure all parts of the network are in sync.

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Oh, those crazy Frenchies: Facebook faces family photo tax in France

The Mole

Workers...

So if anybody who uploads pictures in France is considered a worker then presumably this means they are a worker and it would be illegal under the working time directive for them to be on facebook more than 35 hours a week. Under minimum wage laws presumably Facebook would also have to pay their users/'workers' €9.40 each hour they spend uploading their 'product'...

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Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

The Mole

Every single update...

What I don't get is why Adobe feel the need to force me to agree again for every single update. I've already claimed to have read the license agreement when I first installed the software, this is just an update so it doesn't revoke what I have previously agreed to.

In fact even if Adobe had changed the clauses of the EULA, the fact they don't inform you of this means that they aren't enforceable anyway - as a reasonable person could assume the EULA is the same as the version they agreed to 5 years ago!

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Comet crashes to Earth: 125 stores wiped out

The Mole

Which ones

Does anyone know where to find an updated list of which stores are being shut and which will be left open for a bit longer?

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Singaporeans get hard token baked into credit card

The Mole
FAIL

Picture caption...

I'm pretty sure a decent hard token will produce the one time password 123456 approximately 1/1000000 of the time unless they have deliberately compromised cyptographic integrity. If they removed all the number combinations that humans sees patterns in then the pool of permitted values quickly declines.

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Ohio voting machines have 'backdoor', lawsuit claims

The Mole

Re: US Civics 101

Point 4 is trivial to solve.

You get a print out of your vote, then place this in a ballot box. The first count is done electronically, but If there are calls for a recount it is the paper printouts which are recounted not the electronic register - this greatly protects against hacking based fraud and ensures that people don't go home with proof.

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