* Posts by lee harvey osmond

161 posts • joined 20 Apr 2007

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PHOTON SPACE SAIL successfully Kickstarted into orbit

lee harvey osmond

photon sources?

"However, unlike lighting a Bloody Big Firecracker (TM), the Sun doesn't run out"

Hmmm. That sounds like Project Orion to me. I'll admit it, I lust after that one.

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US Navy robot war-jet refuels in air: But Mav and Iceman are going down fighting

lee harvey osmond

Dr Strangelove clip

Noting that the clip in the article shows USAF in-flight refuelling; the steerable-boom system they devised for strategic bombers rather the probe-and-drogue running-fuck-at-a-rolling-donut scheme used by the rest of NATO.

Noting also all the folks suggesting that in the future such-and-such a military system will not be able to exist because of enemies shooting at it. I think mostly in the future the problem will be mostly logistics, not tactics; the biggest single problem anyone will face will be the remoteness of the area of interest from the nearest available base, and having technology-demonstrator UAVs show they can complete in-flight refuelling evolutions is thought-provoking.

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V&A Museum shows Guardian's destroyed MacBook as ART

lee harvey osmond

Angle grinder?

Since the GCHQ staff who destroyed the MacBook Air took their angle grinder back to the office, and then almost certainly destroyed it just to be on the safe side, did the V&A staff preparing the exhibit think to ask GCHQ if they'd kept the bits? Make a great exhibit ...

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

lee harvey osmond

Huh? A new Godwin's Law?

But... Dabbsy's article isn't about Jeremy Clarkson, it's about people who will jump into online discussion after having seized the wrong end of the stick with both hands.

Once upon a time: Godwin's Law, any internet discussion that runs long enough will lead to somebody mentioning the Nazis.

Nowadays: any internet discussion that runs long enough will lead to somebody mentioning Jeremy Clarkson's departure from Top Gear.

Is that then a new Godwin's law? Or, did I miss the email from Management that Jeremy Clarkson is a fugitive war criminal, and this is all just another instance of the original Godwin's Law at work?

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Health & Safety is the responsibility of Connor's long-suffering girlfriend

lee harvey osmond

Re: Trained in money-laundering

Ummm... H&S ... so you never had to deal with the H&S zealot who stuck 'fire door -- keep closed' and 'fire exit' signs on every door of the building, even the toilets, even the toilet cubicles?

Those signs were lethal -- they kept falling off and hitting people.

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lee harvey osmond

Unit testing?

I am reading Verity's piece, and thinking, the general tone and style is very familiar. Even some of the vocabulary. Hang on, didn't I write this piece myself elsewhere? Let me check my screed collection ... no I didn't.

Now, either Verity is reading my stuff and thinking "nice way of putting that, I shall steal it" or (infinitely more likely) I have been steadily absorbing Verity over the years, to the point that even I'm starting to notice.

Well, we can check that.

"I think, reading the article, that someone is aiming for a kick in the unit testes."

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Watch a hot, speeding space alien explode all over Earth's Beaver

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

lee harvey osmond

Ummmm...

"no no no, hold it in, their satellite's coming round again, they're looking for methane! They'll see us!"

"OK. I'm not sure about this... can I let it slip now?"

"no, no, here comes another satellite. You'll have to wait another --"

-- PAAAAARRRRRRP! ---

"Sorry about that, couldn't help it. Blimey, someone open a window!"

[heavy choking coughing; sound of window opening]

[wheezy] "Dear God. What if it forms a plume? I bet they'll spot that from orbit"

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Now not even muggers want your iPhone

lee harvey osmond

urrr... they will still steal your device

Muggers will still steal your device, but will probably throw it away a short while after. Their aim in doing this is [1] to prevent you from using your device to make a timely report to the police that you have been robbed and [2] to prevent you from using your device to take a picture of the mugger to show to the police, should they ever turn up.

It is also true that muggers are not always possessed with current IT knowledge or a decent set of thinking skills, will not know about the kill switch, will not know which devices or operating system revisions feature it, will not know how to identify the device or operating system revision at which they are looking, and generally won't care either.

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A Bombe Called Christopher, or A Very Poor Imitation

lee harvey osmond

OT: Fosse des Puces

See also http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/28/google_gay_translation_fail/ .

I needed to expand my vocabulary a bit. I foolishly resorted to Google Translate.

"Fosse des Puces"? "Trench bullets". I acknowledged to myself that I was missing something, and thought nothing more of it.

Until somehow I decided "pit of fleas" was probably a better translation.

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LICK THAT ATM: Diebold and Corning debug displays

lee harvey osmond

puzzled

Huh? This is The Register, and we begin with "whether the person ahead of you ... washed their hands after their last visit to the bathroom", and later go on to mention brownouts, but without any pun-tastic attempt to link the two?

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Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

lee harvey osmond

Oil system?

I would like to read some more discussion of the engine lubrication system.

Meteor as the unsupercharged AFV-application Merlin variant? OK. As I recall oil consumption in Merlins was measured in pints per hour, and they leaked about as much as they burned; you can spot a flyable Spitfire in a museum by the liberal oil-staining of the underside of the aircraft.

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Who's been writing in my apps? Googlilocks builds new apps-tracker

lee harvey osmond

Google -Apps- users

... so I started shuffling through my collection of machines and browsers until I found one that Google didn't dismiss as 'unsupported', then found the app-tracker thingy.

I deduced, from the surprisingly short list that showed up, use of Google search does not count. Use of the Gmail webapp counts. Use of Gmail via POP3s/IMAP4s/SMTPs does not count, even though you need the account id+pw to make it work. Hmmm.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

lee harvey osmond

Key fob?

I recall somebody managing to embed a security code key fob into a payment card. What happened to that? Admittedly it doesn't authenticate that you're you, only that the person attempting authentication has the card at hand; that would still be better than a constant password.

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Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water

lee harvey osmond

Unsatisfactory season finale approaching -- please step back from the platform edge

Where was I?

Obvious (to me at least) in the season opener that Missy was The Master, and that what appeared to be the afterlife wasn't. The first person to show up was the chief rubbish robot; robots don't have souls and either don't have an afterlife, or have a different afterlife to living things. [Mmm. We may yet get to discover in what sort of afterlife, if any, Time Lords believe.]

And the swearing thing with the psychic paper. That smacks to me of a hasty script rewrite, of a scene originally between Seb and The Doctor (Addison/Capaldi; Ollie/Malcolm Tucker), and that line was too good to lose.

To get collected by Missy ... well, humans from Robot Of Sherwood don't show up, nor from Flatline, but humans from Into The Dalek do, as does that copper in The Caretaker that we see get blown to carbonised bits by the Skovox Blitzer. Missy is collecting people an instant before they are to be killed, and killed in ways that either destroy or mangle a body in such a way that anybody finding the body, if there is one, will not bother looking at it too closely and then discover it's a replica. A replica which has probably arrived via the same transmat beam that Missy is using to kidnap people.

Danny Pink doesn't quite count. But 'PE' is connected to Clara, whom Missy is exploiting to get to The Doctor. I think we're going to find that Danny Pink is alive and well.

Why did the writers go for the cliché of having Danny kill a child, and not something more nuanced and subtle? I think, precisely because it was unsubtle -- "let's throw in this idea that carries the smallest possible requirements for exposition ***splat***, now, get on with the story". I was expecting Danny Pink to be doing the same job as Jack Harkness in Series 1; the writers then put somebody in position in the Tardis to be a soldier in the series finale, able to run around killing things in a way that The Doctor was not. We might be seeing that again now.

What's with the Matrix Data Slice then? Missy is doing The Matrix with the kidnapped, scanning their memories to inform a holographic environment so that she can manipulate them. The reason why the child that Danny shot doesn't speak could be that Danny never heard him speak, so there's no data from which to synthesise a voice for the hologram of the child.

Or, bearing in mind that Who can be excessively sentimental, it's perhaps more likely that the child isn't dead, and Danny Pink is going to be able to return him alive to the wider world, and free himself from his sense of guilt.

Sooooo why did Missy collect the chief rubbish robot then in Deep Breath? Not a candidate for Cyberconversion. What would a Rubbish Robot make of a Cyberman, or a Cyberman make of a Rubbish Robot?

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Apple's OS X Yosemite slurps UNSAVED docs into iCloud

lee harvey osmond

Tsk

Time to have done with it, and firewall out 17/8 except for special occasions

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Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express

lee harvey osmond

Another robot story, more or less

The rubbish robots, Robot of Sherwood, the Skovox Blitzer, and now a long-dead soldier animated by military technology.

Anybody would think that DW's writers have abandoned their Sixties counterparts' anxieties about invasion and nuclear annihilation, and instead exhibit some more contemporary anxieties regarding weaponised drones and lingering antipersonnel mines.

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Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

lee harvey osmond

Yawn.

Yes it was a clunker. So what? DW's commitment to real science has always been a bit shaky, even from day 1.

Real science? Courtney says she has a book in her bag with describing something about gravity; Commander Whatsherface dismissed this with "Great, does it have a word search?"

More real science: Courtney kills a spider-thing with a kitchen cleaner spray, and the Doctor rattles through a brief lecture about nuclear biology involving the word 'eukaryotic', then rapidly assesses and reassesses who present is expected to understand this.

Speaking of day 1:

any minute now, the TARDIS crew is going to be one irascible old git (played by an actor best known for a previous role that involved shouting at people) with occasional flashes of humour, plus a teenage girl, plus two of her schoolteachers. From Coal Hill School. Sound familiar?

I'll bet Courtney Woods is going to start calling him Grandad next.

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Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

lee harvey osmond

petrochemicals -- just, not fossil fuels

Petrol and diesel are much more practical fuels for road vehicles than hydrogen. And paraffin for aeroplanes, and so on.

And we can burn as much of these as we like with impunity provided (a) we achieve clean burn, no nasty soot or carbon monoxide or hydrocarbon fragments and (b) we do not contribute to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels; need to be carbon-neutral, or better.

Now, if we had a surfeit of cheap electricity as our author seems to be implying one day we could if we wanted, then we could make better use of pyrolytic conversion processes, or even start with CO2 from fractional liquefaction of air, and synthesize lots of squeaky-clean hydrocarbons. Which we could use for purposes other than fuel, too. If we were really ambitious, we could even start making vast slabs of artificial bitumen and stack them in heaps, just to try to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration, aiming towards our target of 280ppm.

The technology already exists to do all that; but, as yet, the cheap clean electricity does not.

[And no, wind turbines don't cut it.]

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Renault Twingo: Small, sporty(ish), safe ... and it's a BACK-ENDER

lee harvey osmond

Reanult has a problem, called 'marketing'

This article mentioned the VW Up!.

And it mentioned th Ford Ecoboost 1.0, as used in assorted small Fords I believe to include such as the current Fiesta and Ka.

It mentioned the 'manic Fiat Twin-Air', as per the FIAT 400.

It even mentioned the Porsche 911.

Each and every one of which I would rather own than the vehicle under discussion.

But then this does show my own biases. The Clio got mentioned, and I don't fancy one of those either. There are lots and lots of people driving about in the Clio 1.2 who don't incorporate my prejudices, and who I imagine would love to be driving a new Clio; but, being seventeen or a little older, it'll be up to their parents to deal with buying them a Twingo and insuring it. And this would neatly cannibalise existing Renault sales.

Unless it's cheaper to buy and insure than a prawn sandwich, well ...

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

lee harvey osmond

Sapphire TV screen?

... perhaps a legacy research objective, from the CRT era, to make a TV that could survive the Steve flinging the remote at it in disgust?

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City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub

lee harvey osmond

HUMAN ABBATOIR?

I think that's a typo which is going to get fixed.

'HUMAN ABBATOIR' implies not just human, but four ... very specific ... Swedish people. Not that I'm necessarily opposed to that

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Intel, Ford: Project Mobii will harpoon unsafe, unauthorized drivers

lee harvey osmond

B*gger me...

... this is "Jipi and the Paranoid Chip", isn't it?

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

http://www.vanemden.com/books/neals/jipi.html

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Gid E-Up? Vulture's claw presses pedal to metal on VW's 'leccy motor

lee harvey osmond

"If the battery is fully charged, no regenerative braking occurs."

... so I can go for the left pedal, and get much less than I expect based on the last time I braked? Don't fancy that much.

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JJ Abrams and Star Wars: I've got a bad feeling about this

lee harvey osmond

If not JJ Abrams, then who else?

I mean, take on a great space/western franchise like Star Wars, and do a good job, or, even a great job? Who is there? Who else could Disney have chosen?

Thinks: Firefly. Did Jos Whedon ever write or direct any films or TV that was any good? In the genre? Recently? One would love to think he was offered the job but had to turn it down on account of being too busy.

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lee harvey osmond

Re: Who are we talking about here?

Close but no cigar.

It was The Dam Busters. Dialogue?

Q: "How many guns do you think?

A: (The Dam Busters) "I'd say about ten guns"

A: (Episode IV) "I'd say about fifty guns"

and so on. This is not to say of course that the scriptwriters of 633 Squadron weren't lifting chunks of Anderson's 1954 masterpiece, because they almost certainly were.

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Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

lee harvey osmond

Yup

Neil Young was an early, vociferous and persistent objector to digital audio, and as such it is reasonable to assume that when others adopted digital studio recording, he didn't, and instead persisted with the best available analogue tape.

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Apple tips Shiraz down all its techies' throats (that's the rumoured name for OS X 10.10)

lee harvey osmond

"iOS staff hauled into Mac development, claim sources"

One would hope not just to work on the UI. OSX releases lately have had a whiff of "this was the B-team's best effort" about them.

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OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

lee harvey osmond

Re: "Google's Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable"

Oh. So I could have my mobile phone connect to a TLS-enabled SMTP server such as Gmail, and in the short periond that that connection is open (read the Android developer docs about battery management) those dastardly people at Google could read up to 64k of core memory from my phone, and this represents a threat to me even 0.1% as serious as some geezer in China connecting to a Gmail server, never attempting to make SMTP authentication over that TLS connection, but snatching 64k out of that server, to which lots and lots of people have connected, and where in principle the private key might be visible to go with the public cert, facilitating impersonation?

Mmmm I don't think so. Yes the library inplementing the protocol has a flaw and there is a vulnerability, but the consequences to humanity at large of unsuspecting clients connecting to malicious servers (servers which will still be expected to present a valid SSL certificate) are rather than less serious than those from malicious clients connecting to unsuspecting servers.

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lee harvey osmond

"Google's Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable"

Vullnerable to Heartbleed exploits?

Is it? Really? Do many people run SSL/TLS-enabled servers on their mobile phones and such?

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Blighty teen boffin builds nuclear reactor INSIDE CLASSROOM

lee harvey osmond

Fusion? Really?

Does he have any ... evidence?

The reports I have seen elsewhere say his Geiger counter was detecting something. Detecting what, though? 18kV got mentioned somewhere, can the boy demonstrate that his electrostatic inertial confinement rig isn't oozing X-rays which are generating ionized particles, ionized particles that the average Geiger counter would notice long before it spotted any neutrons?

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Collective SSL FAIL a symptom of software's cultural malaise

lee harvey osmond

Wasn't an accidental double-paste

I have seen this, incredibly rarely, myself. It's something to do with Subversion; when committing changes to a resource that has non-conflicting changes, a single line can either be omitted, or repeated. I've seen this twice in a decade. This looks like a accidental double-paste; the two I saw did not. It's the sort of thing you don't discover for days or even months, so investigating what actually happened, testing for reproducibility, is ... difficult.

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A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

lee harvey osmond

Saul Klein?

I'll admit it, you had me at 'Saul'.

http://kingjamesprogramming.tumblr.com/post/69208241398/it-seems-to-me-that-the-quotes-like-to-stay-in-one

"Each processor would proceed sequentially as if it had been better for them not to rise against Saul."

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Eight EXCELLENT languages for the fondleslab-friendly Intranet of Thingies

lee harvey osmond

Re: "tide is lapping around our Cnutish feet"

Peotry? Are you sure?

I rather thought Verity was alluding to King Canute, he of sitting-on-a-throne-ordering-the-rising-tide-to-retreat- and-getting-wet fame. Or, equally, to King Knut, who ordered the sea to retreat to show his fawning courtiers that the temporal powers of kings didn’t amount to much compared to the forces of nature.

Though probably not to King Astroknut, who is believed to have led the Viking expedition to Mars in 976. Viking helmets as a rule did not have decorative horns on them. And certainly not Viking space helmets. But I digress.

Canute and Knut, yes, but ‘Cnut’ seems to be a spelling used only by those intent on provoking unfortunate misunderstandings.

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lee harvey osmond

"tide is lapping around our Cnutish feet"

Have a care Verity -- where I come from, calling someone a Cnut may lead to fisticuffs

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Sega’s Out Run: Even better than the wheel thing

lee harvey osmond

Splash Wave. Yes.

I have been following the Antique Code Show articles, being reminded of a fair bit of my lost youth in the process. We haven't seen the 1983 Star Wars arcade game from Atari yet, and that was a lot of fun.

But Out Run was something else. I did try try several of the soundtracks; as I recall I liked Splash Wave the best. Never noticed any character animation inside the car and certainly not "... issues a good telling-off each time you crash".

The 3D rendering was unusually good. Far in advance of Atari's Pole Position for example. I do remember on one stretch finding myself sitting up straighter in the seat in an attempt to peer over the horizon. Didn't work though!

Something else, about all driving games then and now: does the brake pedal do anything useful?

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Cassini spots MEGA-METHANE SEAS on the north pole of Titan

lee harvey osmond

Re: Down to just "4 per cent of its maneuvering propellant"

Don’t need to burn it, so don’t need oxidiser. Just need it to be exerting force in the rocket motor chamber. Could achieve that by boiling it with a nuclear reactor.

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Submerged Navy submarine successfully launches drone from missile tubes

lee harvey osmond

Re: Not without risk and cost

The world changes.

Remember what James Woolsey (boss of the CIA) said twenty years ago "We have slain a large dragon. But we live now in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes“?

Having serious antisubmarine warfare capability, to detect a launch transient and prosecute it, is generally the preserve of dragon-class opposition. There isn’t much of that about any more. If that’s likely to be a problem on the day, well, don’t launch the drone then.

The snakes tend to be messing about in skiffs and rhibs. You can hear those a long way away with decent passive sonar, even lying submerged in shallow water just offshore. Then you could launch the drone, fly it nice and high so the people in the skiffs never even spot it, follow the skiffs, then have some helicopter assault ships out on the blue water arrange a nasty surprise.

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Sonos and I: How home media playback just gets SO FRUSTRATING

lee harvey osmond

If you think Chris Mellor is being over the top about TV sound ...

... does your computer have a fancy sound system capable of bass tones?

It does? Head to iPlayer, find an episode of Dad's Army, and play the first minute or so, so you can listen to the theme tune.

What is that you are hearing? Is it a part for an upright bass that you've never noticed before? That's because your TV's speakers aren't up to it, nor all your previous TVs, all the way back to when Dad's Army first aired.

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SuperStride Me: Reg hack spends week working at 'treadmill desk'

lee harvey osmond

"Aresbestos"? really?

I can't help but think that's a NNSFW anagram of a portmanteau word involving fireproof trousers.

Meanwhile, Neal Stephenson's last novel "Reamde" features a character with a treadmill desk; a character who allegedly was once very very fat unfit etc etc, but who now has a PA to prevent him from overexercising.

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Have you tried turning it off and on again - oh, you did: IT Crowd RETURNS

lee harvey osmond

does turning it off and on again...

... count as a reboot of the franchise?

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

lee harvey osmond

not Bad Wolf...

... but Bad Wilf; Bernard Cribbins's character returns, having turned evil, in league with Davros, the Emperor Dalek, The Master, and the Caravan Club.

Or some other improbable nonsense.

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Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

lee harvey osmond

Did you check the system clocks on the computers etc?

"boxes back to the '70s" ... or Aug 10 1945, or Jan 1 2001, depending on what you're looking at. Computers have realtime clocks on the motherboard being fed by a tiny dribble from mains current even switched off, or from a tiny battery. Now if the power goes down, and the UPS exhausts itself, and the computers are old and any motherboard batteries are dead ... well that doesn't matter does it, when the power comes back, the computers will set their clocks from NTP or Windows Time Sync, won't they?

No they won't; not if they are months out. Definitely not if they're centuries out. Which Apple bod was it who was born on Aug 10 1945 then?

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Hooker in Dudley man's car 'just helping to buy tomatoes'

lee harvey osmond
Joke

Ummmm .... but why ...

... why was he looking for toms, when he had already found one?

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Soylent days and soylent nights

lee harvey osmond

not a balanced diet

Entirely lacking in eg uranium mine tailings

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When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

lee harvey osmond

Re: Caveat Emptor

Go on, reread the article. You are suggesting that HR bods are lacking in a competency that O'Connor implies they are not even required to have.

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NSA accused of new crimes ... against slideware

lee harvey osmond

Secrecy and aesthetics

Let's assume I have drunk far too many vodka martinis to be able to use PowerPoint efficiently. [I'm not sure, but the number might be 'none'.] I might then have somebody prepare some slides for me to explain how/when/why I lost the DB5, the exploding pen and so on.

And such information is, like, secret, as in SECRET Intelligence Service. [Unlike NSA, "Not Secret Anymore".]

Which office PowerPoint-wallah do I choose? Somebody who will try to show the world his work because he thinks it's beautiful, or someone who will try to hide his work because there's no denying it's ugly?

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NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

lee harvey osmond

Why be bothered about 'the cloud' in particular?

[Er, hi to to all my fans in US domestic surveillance. I didn't have time to read any of my email last month, can you send me a summary of all the good ones?]

I'm puzzled.

Various US institutions have decided to ignore the US constitution, and since I'm not a US citizen and don't live in the US, any safeguard provisions in the US constitution aren't going to apply to me anyway.

Forget about 'US cloud technologies'. Pretty much 60% (or is it 80%? does it even matter?) of all internet traffic gets routed via some major bit of infrasstructure in California, so pretty much every packet can be inspected. I think this means that anything travelling across the public internet can be Got At, whether it's on Amazon's cloud, or someone else's cloud, or no cloud.

If I send email, at some point someone's going to read the headers. It doesn't matter if message body is encrypted strongly, you can do a lot of traffic analysis with SMTP headers. Or even IP packet headers. But then strong encryption isn't really a help. Not when many ciphers have been designed with the assistance of the same agency we expect to be listening in.

Those of us that cared could in principle build our own parallel internet. From whom would be buy our switches? Huawei, about whom there are unsubstantiated allegations that they're in the pocket of the PLA and their equipment has back doors? Or from Cisco, about whom we might expect some even more spectacular allegations to be made (in the pocket of the NSA; back doors, etc) once the next round of revelations are made concerning Prism and who's been gagged using the Patriot Act?

Hmmm.

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CRUNCH: 'Drunk' chap cuffed in high-speed car nookie prang rumpus

lee harvey osmond

Yes, but what _precisely_ were they up to?

I mean, after all, did he pull out without indicating?

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Life on Mars means subsisting on grim diet of turd-garden spinach

lee harvey osmond

Mmmm?

Surely a Red Planet horticulturalist ought to be known as a Titchmartian?

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