* Posts by Alan Edwards

465 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

Alan Edwards

Dodgy keyboards

I got myself a Corsair mechanical keyboard, ages back.

Took it home, plugged it in, tried to log on to Windows - wrong password.

I started to wonder what sort of weird settings it was set to and how I was supposed to fix it. It was only when I watched the dots going into the password field that I noticed one was missing - problem turned out to be a dodgy switch under one key that happened to be part of the password.

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British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

Alan Edwards

Re: VPN

> f.ex secret courts (FEMA)

Ahem, FISA. FEMA are the emergency management agency.

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Icelandic Pirate Party maroons itself from coalition talks

Alan Edwards

What does it say to the people that voted for them, though? "Thanks for voting for us, you might as well not have bothered, we're going to do nothing"?

Isn't it easier to effect the change they want from a position of power?

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Paging 1994: Crap encryption still rife in devices

Alan Edwards

No need for SDR

Back in the day I did it with the earphone output of my Pro-26 and a laptop running some software, POCSAG I think it was.

It was like the days of loading games off cassette, twiddle the volume on the scanner and the gain on the laptop audio input and see if the next message was less garbled.

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French hackers selling hidden .22 calibre pen guns on secret forums

Alan Edwards

Re: Not an Internet story

Don't tell him, Pike.

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'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

Alan Edwards

Re: Machine Operating System

Kinda.

Going back a bit so the details are a bit (a lot, actually) hazy. You could put a non-printable character in the disc name, which had the effect of stopping a directory listing at that point. With the appropriate text before that character you could display all sorts of nasty/scary/downright annoying messages, and lock people out unless they knew what file they needed to run.

It became a bit of a manual virus, it quickly spread around the discs for my school's BBCs.

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Got to dash out for some rubber johnnies? Amazon has a button for that

Alan Edwards

Re: Yet another IOT "solution"...

"Oh, what does this little button do?"

In Douglas Adams' house it would turn a light on that says 'Do not press that button again'

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71,000 Minecraft World Map accounts leaked online after 'hack'

Alan Edwards

Re: A password manager?

I use KeePass. v1.x doesn't need any extra libraries, runs straight off a USB drive, and doesn't need Admin or anything. That is my master list, DropBox handles syncing the database onto the iPad, phone etc.

The USB drive has a TrueCrypt volume on it, KeePass sits in the TC volume. The portable version of TrueCrypt also runs without needing Admin IIRC.

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$329 for a MacBook? Well, really a 'HacBook' built on an old HP

Alan Edwards

Re: EBay

I'm toying with getting one of those numeric-pad-less mechanical keyboards to use with my work-supplied HP ProBook 430 when out of my home-office.

The iMac and ProBook are at the top of my list of worst keyboards, narrowly beaten by the HP Pavilion X2 only because it's also smaller than normal.

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The calm before the storm: AMD's Zen bears down on Intel CPUs

Alan Edwards

Stock HSFs

The Intel HSFs aren't *that* bad. The Pentium G2120 in my VMWare server has been going more-or-less non-stop for over 3 years on the stock Intel fan, it's already killed the fan in one PSU.

I'm still using the stock HSF on my i7-6700 too. I've got a Corsair H-90 ready to go in, I only put the Intel one on to check the rest of the kit was working. One day I'll get around to taking it to bits and putting the Corsair in, but the Intel is coping well so far.

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Alan Edwards

I've just broken their detector...

My streaming box that does iPlayer is connected via Ethernet, it doesn't touch the wireless network.

Technically they could try and get into the (encrypted) powerline Ethernet connection between the rooms, I understand those things leak a bit, but I would think they'd just move on to a softer target who was using wireless.

Even if the Shield TV was on the wireless network, good luck telling the traffic from Twitch or my local Plex server from an iPlayer stream.

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California to put all your power-hungry PCs on a low carb(on) diet

Alan Edwards

Re: Hair dryers and vacuum cleaners next?

> If your rig draws 75W, and you use it 40 hours a day,

> 5 days a week for eleven months a year for five years, that us 165KWh

Yeah, but how much does the time machine to give you 40 hour days cost to run :)

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Alan Edwards

Re: Maybe this will encourage popularizing low wattage cpu's

> An analysis of who uses power-hungry pc's, and why,

I have an i7-6700, 65w TDP. Thing is, if you use the internal graphics the entire machine pulls about 40w, up to about 60w with the GTX-750, at idle (which it is for most of it's life). My intention is to keep it for several years, rather than replacing an entry-level low-power job in a year or so because it's not quick enough,

The other thing is that it may use more power when working hard, but it will be working hard for less time than a less powerful low-power CPU, so it evens out and may even come out ahead.

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Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

Alan Edwards

Re: I'm from the US, but...

First time I went to the US, I had to get some tea bags out there. The only ones I could get was some Liptons stuff from CVS - just about drinkable, but expensive.

Since then I've taken my own with me.

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Alan Edwards

Might work...

but only if everyone likes the same amount of milk. In my experience, that never happens. I like tea you can basically stand the spoon up in, I have to double the amount of milk for some people.

There were some people in the last office that I could re-use my tea bag for and they'd still want more milk than normal.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Anyone who puts the milk in tea whilst the bag is still in the cup

> might as well just get their tea from a Klix machine

or 'a cup of a liquid that is almost, but not entirely, unlike tea', as Douglas Adams put it.

No-one's that sadistic are they? That counts as 'cruel and unusual punishment' as far as I'm concerned :)

You can count me as one of the weirdos that puts milk in Earl Grey though. I heard of Earl Grey from ST:TNG, and it was tea so put milk in it - never knew any different.

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Ditch your Macs, Dell tells EMC staff

Alan Edwards

Stickers don't work

They do it all the time on TV, covering the Apple logo with a grey sticker. It just makes you go "Nice MacBook Pro, logo's covered so Apple must have said No'.

It would be obvious once MacOS fires up anyway.

What they should do is say 'You can use your own machine but we'd rather you carry a Dell, here's a healthy discount on an XPS or Precision'.

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Russian spy aircraft are flying over Britain – and the MoD's cool with it

Alan Edwards

Re: Submarines

An MAD detects the effect the sub has on the Earth's mag field. If you can plot it accurately you can hide a sub in natural field disturbances, e.g. from big metal deposits in the crust.

Same with thermal detection and SONAR, both get affected by thermal layers in the water. If you can plot (or predict) that you can hide.

You can detect the sound the hull makes moving through the water, and the props. A diesel-electric can stop and turn everything off, and make like a hole in the water, a nuke needs to keep certain bits running or the reactor will go Chernobyl on you.

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BT internet outage was our fault, says Equinix

Alan Edwards

That explains it

I was down to the backup, backup connection for a while - PlusNet dead, the 3G card in the laptop had no signal, so I was on the MiFi router.

Anyone seeing flaky DNS for a while this morning too? It looked like external DNS servers were being being blocked, I could ping 8.8.8.8 but got no name resolution. I was about to ring them and have a rant and it started working again.

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Blighty's Coastguard goes into battle against waterborne Pokemon

Alan Edwards

Re: Got to catch chinpokomon

Or both at the same time, if Schrödinger caught it

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Trump? Terror? Turkey? Whoa, there's a Tentacool in that Bush...

Alan Edwards

Re: IN THE FUTURE

> get the highest score on Galaxians?

Hey, at least that would show they have some real-life skills, unlike most politicians :)

I bet there's a Candy Crush ring in the House Of Commons.

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Newly spotted distant dwarf planet orbits the Sun every 700 years

Alan Edwards

JJ Kavelaars

Any relation to Ingrid Kavelaars? She's from London, Ontario.

If so, how about naming the planet after the planet Ethaniel was from in Codename: Eternity, Theran IIRC?

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Drowning Dalek commands Siri in voice-rec hack attack

Alan Edwards

Re: I tried the video with my Andriod

Me either. DIdn't work at all on a Galaxy S7, even sat at the voice command screen in the Google app. My voice will wake it up from the home screen.

Maybe desktop speakers or the audio encoding on YouTube mangles the sound too much?

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What Brexit means for you as a motorist

Alan Edwards

Re: Passport, driving licence validity

My UK driving licence is good enough to get me a hire car in America, why would France be any different?

There is also the International Driving Permit, which all of Europe is signed up to or at least recognises. Good for a year, costs £5.50 at the Post Office.

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Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

Alan Edwards

Re: Good idea

I don't know, there are some good bits.

From personal experience, the Grand Canyon, the road through Lake Mead National Recreation Area that is the back way to the Hoover dam from Las Vegas, discovering a Lockheed Constellation parked by the side of the road (actually a small aircraft museum), finding out that you really can hear crickets chirping at night like on all the TV programs.

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DARPA's 'flying wing' drone inches closer to lift-off

Alan Edwards

Re: 1950's redux

You mean Jack Northrop...

The B2 cracked it, but Jack Northrop died without seeing it fly.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Reinventing are we?

If you think landing the Pogo was bad, try the Ryan VertiJet

It stood on it's tail on a stand, suspended from a hook under the cockpit. To land, you went vertical and backed it up to the stand and hooked the hook onto a cable. You couldn't see the wire or the hook from the cockpit.

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Judge torpedoes 'Tor pedo' torpedo evidence

Alan Edwards

No it isn't, the law is doing it's job. Stopping the government/law enforcement doing whatever it wants by making stuff up.

Would you feel the same way if the accused was a relative of yours, and you want information on how the FBI evidence was collected in order to prove their innocence?

You have to consider the wider implications. If law enforcement is allowed to say 'Trust us, the evidence is right' without proving it, the potential for abuse is massive.

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Google kneecaps payday loan ads

Alan Edwards

Re: *groan*

It just means an offence you can be killed for if you're found guilty.

I would guess the word comes from chopping your head off as the method of execution.

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Alan Edwards

Re: Nutters

> so why the plane behaved like it did with it's back up system assumed to be working?]

If I've read the article right, they noticed one of the airspeed sensors was wonky but the backup was fine, so continued the takeoff. After takeoff something else went wrong and the flaps came up but not the slats, which triggered the return to Brisbane. Makes sense, the slats are only for low-speed flight.

I was expecting a giant wasps nest behind the slats to be the problem, but it sounds like something was reliant on the wasp-infested airspeed sensor and gave up the ghost. There's probably a safety system that stops the slats retracting if the computer thinks you're going too slow.

The Air France incident (if it's the one I'm thinking of) was a frozen attitude sensor. They were trying to test the anti-stall and had deliberately stalled it, but the computer didn't know and did nothing about it.

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The EU wants you to log into YouTube using your state-issued ID card

Alan Edwards

Why not do it properly

Bake the ID Card logon into the (gov sanctified) OS, and do single sign-on to any and all websites.

You then tie the OS logon to your fingerprint, facial rec, ID card chip or NFC, depending on the technology the computer has.

Anyone not using GovOS is a terrorist, hack at will.

Most of this already exists, we do auto logon to ServiceNow using your Windows domain credentials now, all it needs is legislation and a bit of infrastructure to validate the ID and do the SSO.

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Japan's Hitomi space 'scope bricked, declared lost after software bug

Alan Edwards

A new record?

A $286m orbiting telescope - that's got to be near the top of the list for things killed by a software bug. I'm guessing that doesn't include the cost of getting it into space either.

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US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

Alan Edwards

SOP - one of the snooping tricks is ruled illegal, so the law is changed to make it legal again.

Never mind that there were good reasons it was illegal in the first place...

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Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

Alan Edwards

So disproportionate

Someone on TorrentFreak's comments posted this link: http://www.thelawpages.com/court-cases/maximums.php to a list of the current maximum sentences.

So...

Walk into Piccadilly Circus with an AK-47 - 7 years.

Have sex with your 12-year-old daughter - 7 years.

Download some films off the internet - 10 years.

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Comcast stabs set-top boxes in the back, pipes directly into smart TVs

Alan Edwards

Re: The cable companies had already been trying to push this "app" model

Yep, agreed. Most of the apps on my Sony TV and Blu-Ray are already abandoned.

What you really want to do is move the app to an external box that just pipes video and audio to the display and audio equipment :-)

To be fair, that external box could be a Roku or HTPC that also runs Plex, NetFlix, Amazon etc.

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FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

Alan Edwards

Re: Stable Doors

> Is it not possible to get a retrospective warrant by presenting the same evidence to a different

> judge and asking him to grant it?

No, that's the point of a search warrant. You have to have evidence beforehand to justify the search, otherwise the search is invalid and any evidence (including from warranted searches that came from stuff found in the warrantless search) is invalid.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Dear Ferals

To be fair they could have just infected the machines without asking and faked the source of the intelligence later, like they have with the Stingray phone trackers.

They asked for and got a warrant, so they were at least trying to comply with the law. They just screwed up and asked the wrong judge, if they had asked the right one they would have been fine.

It was a screw-up, not a deliberate attempt to circumvent warrants, IMO.

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Mitsubishi 'fesses up: We lied in fuel tests to make our cars look great

Alan Edwards

Re: Energy in = energy out

> Howver a Mirlees straight 8 will not fit any car

Don't say things like that, some nutter will take it as a challenge and build one :)

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Alan Edwards

Re: Only 10%?

> "measure a vehicle's emissions whilst it achieves its stated 0-62 time for example"

In terms of the total emissions over the time it takes to get to 62, that could be an interesting test.

Does going full bore for 4 seconds with a giganto-engine produce more CO2 than full-bore for 15 seconds in an econo-box?

You could extend that to a set route that replicates a commute, or some other journey. With a bigger engine your acceleration phases will be done quicker, and you need a lighter throttle to maintain cruise speeds.

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Idiot millennials are saving credit card PINs on their mobile phones

Alan Edwards

Agreed, you need to know what they were actually asked before drawing conclusions, You need to know whether the PINs/passwords were encrypted, or plain text backed up to iCloud.

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Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Alan Edwards

Re: 8.5kW and 0-60 in 10 seconds?

> Acceleration requires capacitor charge generated by braking from a speed achieved by accelerating.

So if you pull away from lights at the bottom of a hill, you're buggered?

It would probably have to stop for a (overnight) breather half way up Birdlip hill.

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Nest bricks Revolv home automation hubs, because evolution

Alan Edwards

Didn't think it through

All they had to do was say "We don't care about this any more. We're turning off our servers, here is the software you need to keep it going. BTW, you're on your own in terms of support".

Result would be a lot less pissed off people. Just turning the thing off permanently is not cool and Google ought to know better.

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FAA doubles Section 333-exemption drone ceiling to 400 feet

Alan Edwards

Or any of the small toy quadcopters like the Hubsan Q4 or Syma X5.

The registration only applies to bigger things like DJI Phantoms.

Having said that, if you're good with a soldering iron you can build an FPV racing beast and still keep it under 250g, Know How on TWiT is in the middle of that build at the moment.

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Sick to death of mighty rocket launches? Avoid these dates

Alan Edwards

Re: Fed up!........

That was my first thought when I saw that headline in the RSS reader - why does Vodafone have a rocket? I thought it was some advertising stunt or something.

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Samsung unblocks ad-block plugins from its Android browser

Alan Edwards

No so secret browsing

> There's also a secret browsing mode that goes beyond “incognito” windows by requiring

> user authentication

So they are enabling anonymous communication by forcing you to identify yourself?

Okaaayy...

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Internet users don't understand security or privacy, says survey

Alan Edwards

Surveys

If you ask the correct questions, a survey can be made to produce whatever result you desire.

This is especially true when you ask people who don't have a clue about what you're asking them.

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What to call a £200m 15,000-tonne polar vessel – how about Boaty McBoatface?

Alan Edwards

Re: RSS Poke It With A Stick

> If it was a support ship, then then "RSS RTFM"...

And it's sister ship RRS Did You Turn It Off And On Again :)

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Alan Edwards

> William Selkirk

ITYM Alexander Selkirk, who would be one of my suggestions. He's already had a Virgin train named after him, I regularly used to get that one from Leeds to Chesterfield.

That must have been an awkward conversation, when Dampier turned up on the ship sent to pick him up.

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FAA's 'drone smash risk to aircraft' is plane crazy

Alan Edwards

Testing?

The bit I don't get is why there hasn't been any research.

Buy a crap-load of toy drones, stick 'em in a wind tunnel and throw them at things, see what damage they (don't) do. Simples. My suspicion is they will disintegrate without even scratching the paint, but there little reason not to try it, apart from not being the poor sod who has to vacuum the bits up.

For extra credit give a few to people like Pratt And Whitney, GE and Rolls-Royce and ask them to fly them into running engines. Again, my suspicion is you'll get a lot of tiny, burnt bits of plastic out of the back, but they already destroy a bunch of engines testing bird strikes, lets try some quad-copters too.

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Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop scores gig as chief innovator for Australia's top telco

Alan Edwards

Elop

The man that single-handedly killed Nokia, IMO.

The world and their cat could see that Windows Mobile was going nowhere, and he stopped development on *everything else*.

The N9 and N1 showed what they were capable of, but they weren't allowed to sell them, and the 2520 should have been Atom-based running full Windows.

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