* Posts by Mayhem

327 posts • joined 3 Feb 2009

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TTIP: A locked room, no internet access, two hours, 300 pages and lots of typos

Mayhem

Re: Typo tracking

The typos are probably a double blind - the real canary trap will be a legalese synonym dictionary making every copy unique. Correcting the typos will be a way to catch out lazy journalists who copy and paste instead of transliterating the text.

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Hollywood gives up speculative invoicing attempt in Australia

Mayhem

Re: speculative invoicing

A better reversal of the original

Hollywood Litigants: And what Law are you basing this argument on?

Federal Court Judge: The Law of bloody common sense!

3
1

Submarine cable cut lops Terabits off Australia's data bridge

Mayhem

Re: Cape York

Firstly, PNG is independent of Australia, has been since 1975.

Secondly, the broken PPC1 cable in question that Australia uses to connect to Guam is also connected to PNG, via the Solomon Sea. Cables don't go overland in PNG - nothing does. It's bloody tough country, with over 4000m mountains in the middle.

Most of the connections go via the Sunda Straight to Jakarta and Singapore, because that's the easiest and cheapest way to tap into the big asian pipelines, and has the least exposure to the really complicated and fairly shallow seafloor between Kalimantan and PNG which is full of volcanic activity.

They are very vulnerable to a big bang from Krakatoa, but the costs of rebuilding are probably less than running new cables to Sri Lanka.

Lastly, NZ has a *really* active plate boundary running along the east coast, which is why the Southern Cross is the only cable to be routed that way, and it runs up to Hawaii parallel to the boundary to avoid the trenches. Every other link goes via Australia and the Tasman Sea is geologically stable.

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UK Home Sec wants Minority Report-style policing – using your slurped data

Mayhem

Email them?

Subject: Riot. Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to inform you of a riot that has broken out on the premises of 123 Cavendon Road... no, that's too formal.

[deletes text, starts again]

Riot - exclamation mark - riot - exclamation mark - help me - exclamation mark. 123 Cavendon Road. Looking forward to hearing from you. Yours truly, Maurice Moss.

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Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

Mayhem

Jan Baalsrud

A Norwegian who got an MBE, he has one of the greatest survival stories I've ever read in the book We Die Alone. Amongst other things he amputated nine of his own toes, and survived 27 days alone in a stretcher in an alpine environment, including being buried under several metres of snow. And on learning to walk again, he went back into Norway on active duty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Baalsrud

1
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Mozilla warns Firefox fans its SHA-1 ban could bork their security

Mayhem

SSL

The biggest issue I find these days is logging onto routers and other consumer level web enabled devices.

They all have legacy or flawed implementations of SSL and Java, and there is absolutely no chance of ever getting it updated - the manufacturers don't care, they'd rather sell you a new device.

Yet Chrome and Firefox both have the idea that THIS IS BAD THEREFORE BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK. While I agree with the concept for web based sites, it really should be possible to whitelist a local network IP.

At the moment I'm forced to use a dedicated old version of FF so that the NPAPI plugins work, and half the time I have to dig out IE 9 to access the login pages. Not exactly safe, but Chrome and FF are both actively preventing me doing my work in the real world.

0
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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

Mayhem

Epidemic of idiots?

Well, it does help to know when you are outside your area of expertise.

I'm quite happy to ring my mechanic and say My Car Doesn't Work. He'll ask a few basic questions, and then usually ask if we can get the car to his garage. Which is exactly the same as IT collecting a faulty PC and checking it in their office. He sometimes has a loan car, but usually it's shanks pony time.

I'm highly technical, but I'd much rather someone who knows what they are doing fixes the damn thing, it's quicker and much much cleaner. Especially CV boots. Moly grease is a right pain to deal with.

For a friend of mine though who collects and races classic cars, his mechanic is willing to jump on a plane and fly down to wherever he is in order to get it running again if they can't diagnose the fault over the phone to where my friend can fix it. Costs a fair bit more than my guy, but then he can easily afford it.

2
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And the reasons for buying new IT gear are as follows ...

Mayhem

Not only the hardware

Software gets held onto way past due date too.

I've done three separate migrations this year for SMB customers from SBS 2003 to 2011 because they finally decided it was time to shift. Two were virtual, so relatively straightforward, but the physical one was a good challenge to do in the weekend timeframe.

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Mayhem

Re: if you want to see long life equipment...

I love the HP4200 and 4300 series printers - for high volume B&W printing they are extremely hard to beat. My old bank had an agreement with a supplier to swap them out for refurbished models every few years as the repair calls crept up, and they'd come back next time round for another five years of constant abuse.

Driver compatibility with everything under the sun, reliable cheap(ish) toners and 40ppm, what's not to like?

0
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Assange inquisition closer after Sweden, Ecuador sign pact

Mayhem

Re: One Swedish Charge left

There is no chance that the FO will give a confirmed fugitive from justice a free pass

Ahh, but if he is granted Diplomatic Immunity, then he is automatically ineligible for prosecution for any and all crimes. Which means he isn't a fugitive any more. The most they can then do is declare him Persona Non Grata and expel him, at which point he is stuck in the embassy again.

The Foreign Office has covered up far far worse in the past when prosecution has been deemed not in the countries best interest, particularly if weapons sales are involved. Slavery and murder have been more frequent of late, particularly involving Indian diplomats or Middle Eastern princelings.

1
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Gamer ransomware grows up, now infecting UK, Euro businesses

Mayhem

Details

It will infect the victim's machine and impressively all those attached to the same network, encrypting files using any of 187 extensions

It would be good if you could provide some information as to HOW it can encrypt everything on the network since none of your links cover that titbit.

Are we talking mapped network drives same as Cryptolocker, or does it use some other mechanism like crawling file shares?

2
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Outsourcer didn't press ON switch, so Reg reader flew 15 hours to do the job

Mayhem

Floppy drives?

The big one these days is a USB drive plugged in overnight so the pc doesn't boot the next day.

On lenovos all you see is a black screen with white blinking cursor.

Trivial to fix once you know about it, but with USB drives getting tinier, can be easy to overlook on a quick glance at the box. It's one of my top questions for checking out novice techies.

8
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Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

Mayhem

Re: Bottom line. GCHQ *must* have more money.

Damned Grey Aliens coming here and probing our fine native squirrels.

0
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Badware in the firmware all over the place

Mayhem

Re: As an expat Kiwi many things tug the heartstrings

Oh god yes. Being able to walk into the average cave and *not* see long feelers waving at head height is a nice change. Cave wetas might be small, but they really know how to advertise in low light conditions. Bloody heart attack material.

3
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Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth

Mayhem

Re: What is driving this?

An ID card and a passport are different things.

An ID card is proof of identity as an individual within a state or organisation. A passport is an internationally standardised proof of identity and citizenship between states.

I have no problem with ID cards if they are used as a proof of identity for access to government services. For example the Estonian state uses a card with two factor backup that identifies holders to a middleware service that provides proven identity data to the other services - driver licencing, voting, utility billing, banking etc. The card number itself isn't necessarily recorded in those foreign databases, only in the identity system.

Where I do have a problem is where they try and make the card itself hold all the specifics of a person - addresses for example, so if you move you have to get a new card *cough* UK driver licence. I also strongly disagree with the idea of smushing all the data together into a wonderful all seeing database, because I don't trust the people running it not to look at the data when they shouldn't. Multiple independant databases linked by middleware with tightly defined access protocols are inherently safer from both attack and malicious snooping.

1
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Identifying terrorists: Let's find a value for needle in haystack

Mayhem

Re: Needle in an database stack

Not to mention that any inappropriate access was clearly done by an individual, working alone and solely responsible for that access. After all, if it was sanctioned there would be a record, but there isn't, so it wasn't.

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Mayhem

Re: Needle in an database stack

So one of my colleagues has a friend who works with the Met police, running interference between the Met and various agencies. His biggest issue is that MI5, MI6, GCHQ etc do not - ever - write anything down.

The Met is required by law to document everything they do. His role lives and breathes paperwork. The agencies are pretty much expected not to. Also, no one working with them is allowed to say what they do, or expose any resources used by those agencies or even disclose that such things exist at all. While documenting everything. As expected, the documentation is usually so vague as to be utterly useless.

In an environment where no one ever records what they do, how will you ever know that something was accessed inappropriately. After all, if they accessed it, they had a reason. That reason was verbally instructed to them, and they had access by virtue of their position, therefore their access was appropriate. Prove otherwise.

Also disclosure of inappropriate access means discussing what it was they accessed, and that is against a different law. Have fun.

12
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Facebook conjures up a trap for the unwary: scanning your camera for your friends

Mayhem

Re: This Zucks.

@AC.

Yes, the common contacts is obvious. But I only use Linkedin for professional connections. Where Linkedin often surprises me is "you might know" and gives me a name of someone I haven't spoken to in 20 years, have no connections in common with, and knew in a totally different context to my industry. Like my parent's friends' children.

And yes, I do know them, but how the hell Linkedin knows I do is cleverer than simply looking at email addresses or common friends.

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Mayhem

Re: This Zucks.

The problem is that even if you don't have a Facebook account, your friends probably do.

And if they upload photos with you in the background, and then tag you by name, Facebook now knows who you are.

Look up Shadow Profiles, which is basically the metadata based profile that Facebook has of you based on the contents of your friends address books and posting history. They generally know your public email address, phone number, and who you associate with. It is the same tech that Linkedin uses to suggest people you might know - and you do - but have no idea how Linkedin associated you with them.

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Cops' IT too complex for quick and dirty revamp – Police ICT boss

Mayhem

Re: Blimey - Easyjet sponsoring Bedfordshire Police?

"Any trips you do take will be used in evidence against you in the court of public opinion..."

2
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Lone wolves could be behind multi-million dollar Cryptowall ransomware racket

Mayhem

Re: What's the vector, Victor?

If you have no backup of the data - you have no choice - your business goes down the toilet.

£20K worth of business or £500 ransom, you decide.

This particular attack disproportionately hits small businesses the worst, probably because they are the most likely to be vulnerable. It also charges a very specific sum - large enough to make lotsa money, but small enough that it isn't worth Interpol chasing them down.

Large corporates have the technical skill to segregate the network traffic and restore from backup while cleaning back up the line.

Small businesses generally have one guy who knows how to reboot the router, and a sales contact for more hard disk space. Since this thing knows to traverse network drive mappings, it encrypts all the usual backups as well as what is on the system.

0
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Deutsche Bank to axe 'excessively complex' IT, slash 9,000 jobs

Mayhem

Re: Respect

Don't forget the traders who consider Excel an operating system.

17
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Cops use terror powers to lift BBC man's laptop after ISIS interview

Mayhem

Re: Kiddies!

My favourite quote today is the Head of MI5 complaining that Terrorism is a greater risk than at any point in his career. Which based on his age includes when the IRA was actively blowing up parts of London on a regular basis.

Damn immigrants, coming over here and stealing our home grown terrorist jobs.

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EU urged to ignore net neutrality delusions, choose science instead

Mayhem

Re: QoS != Net neutrality

100 times yes.

QoS is perfectly fine on any network. Separating out priority traffic from low priority traffic is part and parcel of what network management does.

Net neutrality means you can't charge itunes more than netflix for the same bandwidth on the same network channel. Or make Google's emails arrive faster than Hotmail. It's all about removing barriers to entry from new competitors, and the one thing all the internet giants want is to stifle any potential competition.

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US military personnel investigated for splashing $96,576 on strippers

Mayhem

Was going to say the same thing - the cunning troops tried a different currency to slip it under the belt of the regulators.

0
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Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership election

Mayhem

Re: Labour... now unelectable

"Nuclear waste is tiny almost negligible compared to other ways."

It really isn't - The UK inventory as of 2013 is 1770 cubic Metres of High Level Waste, and 95,600 cubic Metres of Intermediate Level Waste. Pretty much the entire reactor building and containment, and processing facilities also become nuclear waste at the end of their useful life. Hence the vast costs. See http://www.nda.gov.uk/ukinventory/the-2013-inventory/2013-uk-data/

Or to put that in perspective, a roughly 12mx12mx12m pile of High Level waste and a roughly 45mx45mx45m pile of Intermediate Waste.

Ok, there needs to be a substantial amount of containment, and you can't exactly pile it all together without wondering if Stuff Will Go Wrong, but we're really not talking about a lot of physical material here. The UK is very geologically stable, being in the middle of a plate, and it should be straightforward to find a nice big chunk of granite to entomb it in. Not politically easy, but straightforward. The low level and Very Low Level waste is probably ideal to use to fill up a few old deep coal mines. It's certainly cleaner than a bunch of the waste tailings from the mining operations in the first place.

5
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Financial Conduct Authority wastes £3.2m on unnecessary Oracle licences

Mayhem

No general taxpayers money was wasted

Only the money of the firms who the FCA regulates - it is funded by a levy on the financial sector.

And given the level of corruption that has been going on in the City, I'm really not complaining all that hard about them all having to pay a few more pennies...

But yes, nice work by the oracle salesfolk ... they're almost more predatory than the lawyers.

1
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Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY

Mayhem

When did that happen? The moment that the directors decided they wanted an iThing for working on.

If enough directors want something, then it is already "enterprise ready", no matter how badly it breaks common sense or usability.

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Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales

Mayhem

Re: Auto Rip

So a standard rule of thumb for professional copy editing and proofreading is 10 pages per hour, @£22-24 per hour.

Which makes the average potboiler of 350 pages around £1700 for both.

Pay an intern minimum wage to OCR the book and feed it into the process, and you're probably talking about £3000-4000 per book at the end of the day. Add cover design from a freelancer, which is another £500 minimum, unless you negotiate reuse of the dead tree version, which could be significantly more for a named artist.

And those are sunk costs, ignoring any royalties etc.

Which explains why Amazon has done a quick and dirty job on a bunch of popular books from the past, and is only now working with publishers to do the less popular or out of print runs.

It also explains the profusion of OCR artifacts in many of the initial works.

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Mayhem

Re: It's really simple

@Spartacus

Agreed, to a certain extent.

I disagree somewhat in the total leisure market figure, since leisure spending is not only price elastic, but also time elastic. A book may be valued more or less depending on how long it takes you to read it. £10 for an hour seems expensive. £10 for 5 hours seems a bargain, yet that could simply be a factor of reading comprehension.

Hardcovers however are valued for two main reasons. One is initial access - they come out first in the traditional publishing chain, and people WANT IT NOW. The second is durability - they physically last a lot longer, so are better value for libraries etc. Even when the book has been out long enough to be reprinted in paperback, there is a small quantity reprinted in hardcover for the rental market.

Not that I particularly like artificial scarcity - I only buy paperbacks as that's the size of my shelves - but that's how the system works across all industries.

Ebooks should be priced higher than paperbacks initially - that's the access part of the quote. They should then reduce in value over time, that's the long tail kicking in.

The problem is who controls the pricing of the book - and whether the manufacturer (the publishers in this case) has the right to set a price or if they have to follow the price set by their retailers.

At the end of the day, the manufacturer of the work should be able to set any price they like. It might not sell very well, but they should have the right to bankrupt themselves. Amazon, or any other monopsony middleman (I knew there was a word for it!) should not have the ability to dictate the price at which a good is sold to them, only a price at which they are prepared to buy. It's a fine distinction, but quite an important one, especially when a lot of smaller suppliers are being squeezed out of business by such practices.

Amazon is frequently trying to use books (and music, and other leisure goods) as a loss leader in order to keep control of the ecosystem and ensure people buy the goods with a better profit margin (such as fridges) through Amazon as well. The problem is they also try and force those losses back up the chain, which is where I have a problem. If they sell it for too little, that is their problem, not the supplier.

Tesco is very similar. The big supermarkets have been in a price war over milk for the past few years. Which is fine - milk is a good way to lure in customers. Yet they have used this to bludgeon down the price paid to their suppliers, which means only the larger suppliers can economically stay in the trade, and quality has dropped. That should be looked at, since security of the food supply is a national importance. Inefficiency should be punished, I agree, but the race to the bottom has few winners.

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Mayhem

Re: It's really simple

The problem is that books (and movies and games, and most other leisure activities) are only partly fungible. In other words, they can't always be easily exchanged for something else.

If you want a Dan Brown potboiler, you may pick up a Clive Cussler, but are unlikely to be satisfied by a Harlequin romance or a technical manual on .NET 3. Which means that the prices of the harlequin romances are irrelevant in your purchasing decision.

Equally if you wanted to watch Blade, then Twilight may not be a suitable replacement, yet both are vampire movies. Twilight is even half the price!

How about wanting to watch the football and being taken to a test cricket match, or expecting to see England play Germany and getting tickets for Togo vs Ghana.

£10 ebooks may sell fewer than £5 ebooks, but to someone who wants a particular author, it isn't like they have a choice.

Also, and more importantly, the key demand from the publishers was to be able to continue to set a minimum wholesale price for a book to be sold at - which set a floor for their income. The Retailer could always sell the book for whatever price they liked, as a loss leader if desired, but the trick Amazon wanted to pull was to say "We sold this for £5 so you only get 40% of that £5" instead of "this book cost us £10 at wholesale rates, and we sold it for £5 and lost money, but here's your £10." It is wrapped up in the fact that Amazon is both Retailer and Wholesaler, but works the system to take advantage of both buyer and seller. See also Supermarkets and other monopoly industries and how they screw the producers.

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SPACE WHISKY: Astro malt pongs of 'rubber and smoked fish'

Mayhem

Re: Real vs Fake

Agreed - the addition of wood chips is invariably a sign of someone trying to disguise a cheap distillate, generally from extractive industrial 4 column stills. cough *panama* cough.

On the other hand, a company in California by the name of Lost Spirits has succeeded in producing some superb aged spirits ... equivalent to 20yr rums ... in six days.

And I mean they won industry awards, and gained recognition from a lot of the big names before they revealed their process. See http://www.wired.com/2015/04/lost-spirits/ for a good writeup after the reveal.

They do around 550L per run, but to be fair their spirits don't always mix well in cocktails - they've been engineered to be a specific flavour profile, and adulterating the mix can lead to unpredictable results.

0
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Feeling a physical present: Ten summer games and gadgets

Mayhem

Re: How much?

So are you suggesting Lucy should be El Reg's official Page 3 girl now?

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BOFH: Knitting bobble hats on the steps of the guillotine

Mayhem

Ayah

“No, because 'technology's changed so much in the time you’ve been away' – regardless of how short a time it was. Your role's disestablished and there's a new role, like ‘Technical Functional Support Co-ordinator’ or some crap like that, which they've shoehorned your replacement into, avoiding any legal entanglements.”

Well now, that brought back a few bad memories from the millennium, when a six week secondment turned into "you aren't suitable for the role any more".

Creative Dismissal is far too easy to get around these days.

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New study into lack of women in Tech: It's NOT the men's fault

Mayhem

Re: How about construction then?

The mining companies did a *lot* of trials and analysis, and found that men in general are heavier on the throttle, which puts more wear on the tyres. Since the main cost associated with the big mining trucks is tyre wear, the hiring companies were instructed to pick the candidates with the lighter touch, which was predominantly the females in each intake. If you're only picking 3-5 candidates, and there are 60 applicants, even if only 10% are female, you'll get a lot more coming through the system.

Yes, a driver might earn $100,000/yr, but each tyre on a big caterpillar is currently costing between $90-150,000 and you need 6 on a truck.

Apparently underinflation also burns up to 15% of tyre life - it's something they *really* pay close attention to.

1
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Microsoft's Windows 10 Torrent-U-Like updates GULP DOWN your precious bandwidth

Mayhem

Re: Torrent is as Torrent Does...

Yep, it'll certainly be interesting in Australasia, where the vast majority of connections are still data capped. Usually with $2/GB for bandwidth beyond that.

Microsoft really doesn't understand that not everywhere is permanently online yet.

Still, the p2p distribution could be good for small businesses, that tend to have half a dozen machines in a workgroup. Only one would need to physically download each update.

2
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The Breakfast (Table) of Champions: Micro Machines

Mayhem

Turbo Tournament

Turbo Tournament was my go to drug, with the extra two ports built into the cart in case you didn't have a 4 way play adapter. Utter carnage in front of the TV.

My favourite tracks were the initial desk with the power drills blocking the track occasionally, and the awesome dragsters three laps around a toilet seat.

Plus you forgot to mention the best part of Head to Head racing ... the carefully timed nudge of the opposition to send them flying into a wall and rebounding backwards off the screen!

1
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Bitcoin fixes a Greek problem – but not the Greek debt problem

Mayhem

Re: But will it work in real life?

Of course it will work - because there is no physical difference between a Greek Euro and a German Euro. There are problems with the exchange actually getting the Greek funds - with the limits to bank withdrawals the traditional suitcase full of cash has fallen out of favour - but the benefit of Bitcoin is that the Greek government isn't blocking trade in it yet, though it has implemented controls on exchange between Euro and foreign currencies within Greece.

As another commentator mentioned, the larger problem is having a foreign account to deposit the funds into, but that's what the Greek Diaspora is for.

There is probably a good income to be made in the short term by acting as a bitcoin broker for all those independently wealthy contractors that want to move their funds out of Greece - especially since you could turn it from a Greek Euro to a bitcoin and back into a German Euro via a cousin living in Bonn and it will only cost you commission...

0
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Natural geothermal heat under Antarctic ice: 'Surprisingly HIGH'

Mayhem

Rockets for the win!

Yep, they're the ski equipped LC130s, usually operating out of McMurdo to the outlying stations.

They use the rocket packs when taking off from unprepared runways - usually icefields in the middle of nowhere to minimise crevasse risk.

If you're lucky when you fly south and the McMurdo ice runway is solid, it's a 5hr flight on a C17. If you're unlucky, its an 8hr flight on a C130, If you're really unlucky and the runway has softened, its a 10hr flight on the ski equipped ones to Williams Field.

All three flight options have a roughly 40% chance of having to abort and turn around if the weather is too bad to land by the time you get there. A friend did two 20hr loops in a row before finally landing back in 2005. He was utterly wrecked for two days after.

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Hacked Hacking Team team – like everyone in security – read The Register

Mayhem

Re: Hubris.

I'm not sure whether to be impressed or depressed that Amanfrommars has a blog.

Mind you, it probably drags the average clarity and comprehensibility of the blogosphere up by a fractional percentage.

6
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Wanna go all Gandalf – YOU SHALL NOT PASS – on Windows 10?

Mayhem

Re: Removing the KB is not the enough?

Don't need to remove the KB - just kill the GWX process, then rename the GWX folder in C:\Windows\system32 out of the way, which stops it running again.

We have a lot of small businesses that we support that have a handful of pcs in a workgroup and this nicely gets rid of the icon and halts the process.

0
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Hey, Sand Hill Exchange. Shouting 'blockchain!' won't stop the Feds

Mayhem

Re: Yes, but...

What about if you post pictures of short cats?

6
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Three things you need to break down those company silos

Mayhem

Re: Timely

Present a skinned version of the new platform to a few key users as a "new interface" to their existing setup, and their complaints about which bits aren't working will help narrow down their actual requirements.

Then a few weeks later after you've migrated the settings, swap the skin to the company wide one and show everyone the new improved system that does everything they want.

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Mayhem

Re: Interesting logic about Open Source

You missed the point - Open Source wasn't the problem. Using a different set of software tools to the rest of the organisation was.

In that place and at that time, the company was using Office. Having one department out of many try and work against the tide was simply not a good investment for the company in time and effort.

Now say they had been looking at shifting the company from Office 2003 to 2007, where there was an expectation of a substantial amount of retraining involved. Then it might have been worth spinning up a small test project team to trial the equivalent Open Source product available at that time to see if the logistic and training burden was higher or lower under Open Source. You may also have a one off conversion investment in altering historical documents to work properly under the new system.

That's the time that money gets discussed, not in an ad-hoc way. The extra cost of licencing a single department is insignificant compared with the collected burden of administering a diverse ecosystem and the inefficient use of employee resources. It's the same reason executives have secretaries.

2
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Confusion reigns as Bundestag malware clean-up staggers on

Mayhem

Re: Not my idea of fun

Jesus christ. From that article

The Duqu 2.0 malware platform was designed in a way that survives almost exclusively in memory of the infected systems, without need for persistence. To achieve this, the attackers infect servers with high uptime and then re-infect any machines in the domain that get disinfected by reboots. Surviving exclusively in memory while running kernel level code through exploits is a testimony to the technical prowess of the group. In essence, the attackers were confident enough they can survive within an entire network of compromised computers without relying on any persistence mechanism at all.

The reason why there is no persistence with Duqu 2.0 is probably because the attackers wanted to stay under the radar as much as possible. Most modern anti-APT technologies can pinpoint anomalies on the disk, such as rare drivers, unsigned programs or maliciously-acting programs. Additionally, a system where the malware survives reboot can be imaged and then analyzed thoroughly at a later time. With Duqu 2.0, forensic analysis of infected systems is extremely difficult – one needs to grab memory snapshots of infected machines and then identify the infection in memory

Yep, it pretty much can do anything to anything. I expect there are plugins for non-windows systems which can back infect everything - I can imagine infecting a switch and it will reinfect anything that connects. You literally need to shut down *everything* to get rid of it, and they know your credentials so can get back in and reinfect as soon as one of your machines touches the internet.

That is one scary piece of malware - the difference between angry script kiddies and State Espionage is profound.

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Mayhem

Presumably they tried bringing up a clean segment of the network in isolation, and upon migrating the necessary data across the segment got reinfected. It sounds like they might be unable to locate the vector that the infection is spreading from.

Which must be a complete bastard of a thing to deal with, especially since a government lives and breathes on paperwork.

Flattening and rebuilding the network and applications is straightforward. Doing that while retaining the data is trickier, particularly if you don't know when the infection first arrived, so historical backups are likely to be contaminated.

19
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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Mayhem

Because they are pretty

I'm seeing a lot of adoption of iMacs in the reception space because they are pretty and don't need cables. Architects and Interior Designers LOVE them. And then they get Bootcamped to run Windows so the access control software can run.

They're pretty easy to support, you can basically treat them as windows clients, the only tricky bit is either networking or when you have to swap out a keyboard, in which case you need to boot back into OSX temporarily.

0
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The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

Mayhem

Re: Optimism?

The book reminded me a heck of a lot of Douglas Mawson's Home of the Blizzard, which features his survival in Antarctica after a disaster some 500km from their base,

He has a similar improvisational style, manufacturing what is needed to survive, and simply perservering through force of will, despite numerous setbacks.

Many reviews like this one complain that the subject never falls into despair, yet when you read a lot of first hand accounts of survival, very few actually do experience much despair. When they do, they certainly don't write about it - it just isn't something they waste energy on. Mawson has a quote I've never forgotten - upon pausing for a break in the sun one day because his feet hurt, he peels off his boots and socks and the soles of his feet come away with them. He writes Was there ever to be a day without some special disappointment? . He then dried them, bandaged them up, put his socks and boots back on and kept on walking - because there was no other option.

Weir's book is well researched and compelling entertainment. I'm very much looking forward to the movie.

3
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My life under Estonia's digital government

Mayhem

Re: ID Card

My central point is that ID cards commonly issued on the continent of Europe, don't show residential address and as such are not the all in one master identity document they are frequently trumped up to be. As far as I can see, an ID card does nothing that an ordinary Passport cannot do

So you seem to be conflating Proof of Identity with Proof of Residence. Which are two different requirements. Recall the original Estonian system provides proof of identity for access to government services. Holding the card does “not entail full legal residency or citizenship or right of entry to Estonia.

Which means it isn't a Passport, which is a globally recognised legal travel document and proof of citizenship. It may be accepted as such within the EU, but legally it isn't.

What it does appear to do is allow an Estonian to avoid having to carry multiple valid legal documents for every service they use - in the UK that would be the equivalent of a drivers licence, student id, NHS number, NI number, banking two factor device, et cetera and only have to carry a single ID card.

Each department that interacts with the cardholder has a device that can talk to the card system, and the middleware on the card system can then talk to their own systems.

Since the banks and utilities also have access to the system, they don't need external proof of residence - the system itself knows where you live and work and the cardholder can approve that information being made available to the company asking.

The UK has the same idea, but every service relies on composite keys manufactured out of disparate information that the user has to pull together every time they need to establish something new. The Estonian ID system lets you do that once and never need to do it again.

The key difference is where the balance of power lies. In the current UK system, the individual continually has to prove themselves to the arms of the state, though combined the state has access to most information about the individual. In the Estonian system, the state formally knows everything about the individual, but the individual has control over who sees the information and under what conditions.

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Mayhem

Re: ID Card

Most National ID cards that I have personally seen and I have seen most of them from the EU, don't even have the bearer's home address on it.

I would never want my proof of identity device to have my address on it. Otherwise every time you change address you need a new device. As someone who rents a flat, I've changed address four times in seven years. I replaced my drivers licence once, when I moved most recently, and then only because I lost the paper part of my licence.

A better question would be why opening a bank account requires proof of residence at all. Proof of identity, sure. But an address is a pointless exercise now that you are no longer associated with a specific branch for your services. Not to mention the trap it puts on poor people, who often have no fixed abode, but can't get one because they can't get bank accounts, et cetera.

Replacing disparate numbering systems, NHS, Driving licence, National Insurance, to name but a few, would be a large and costly undertaking at a time when most government departments are having their budgets slashed.

I think you missed the part about all government services being required to work together. Each can retain their own systems, identifiers and databases, they don't even need to alter anything internally. Each would simply need to provide an open EDI interface that the secured middleware layer can communicate with. The middleware layer handles the translation between departments. So you start with something straightforward, like the driving licence system. The middleware layer associates the pre-existing drivers licence number with the ID number you have created for the relevant individual and boom, they know they are talking about the same person. You can then add other government departments one at a time and confirm the interoperability. So your principle expense initially is in the middleware layer. Each additional service added is cheaper and cheaper, as the underlying platform is already there.

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