310 posts • joined 26 Apr 2009
For a big outfit Akamai is doing better than feared
How often do we get to see a corp boast in public, get called out on it and then promptly eat that humble pie, discuss their mistake in reasonable technical detail, and set about digging its customers out of the mess? A couple of years back I'd have expected a promptly hurled spurious law suit (DCMA protection device violation, libel, damaging customer confidence, disclosure of trade secrets, freelance subversion...)
Maybe it's the influence of Pwn to Own (etc), or maybe they're both symptoms of an overall change, but it feels like our industry is growing up just a bit.
Re: Er, why?
It's not obvious that they knew of this specific bug - developers were already concerned that OpenSSL's own "secret malloc sauce" was dangerous. Here's OpenSSH's Theo de Raadt gently remonstrating...
But yes, building OpenSSL with heartbeats disabled would have been good - unless of course they tried and found that this conflicted with some other config macro they needed, since most of the combinations weren't being built, let alone tested. Such a minority interest item shouldn't have been enabled by default anyway, especially in a security layer.
Once the landing-in-a-shower-of-sparks-and-smoke is working
I hope NASA commissions new launch modes for Falcon rockets: swimming-pool-slide-away and palm-tree-lie-down..
(and now I'll spend the rest of the day with the Thunderbirds music as an earworm. Come on, join in, dum---dah-dah-dum, dah-dah-dah-dum-dah-duum...)
And pray that nobody used a web admin interface
...or that if they did then their SSH password isn't the same, or that if they aren't 100% sure that this has always been true for the past two years then rebuild the server at the same time as changing certificates. Otherwise the paranoid fear remains that someone has quietly owned the server and no longer needs the old passwords, private key, or this vulnerability.
Re: I want...
...and when citizens ask you how you came to be, you just can't refrainium from 'xplainium
Re: Changed flight path?
Mass of the lander: 27kg
Mass of the comet: 3,140,000,000,000kg
No worries :-) - the normal out-gassing of the comet will be transferring a lot more momentum than the landing
@Kurt - glad that FreeScale are on the more enlightened side. Maybe that's even becoming the true "best practice"? - of the seven redundancies I've been involved with there seems growing awareness that it's all too easy to make the remaining staff demotivated and cynical, and in fact to induce a form of grief.
Nothing like of course the grieving of those directly affected by this loss, or the ripples spreading out through people more connected than me. But that's the (all-too-)human nature to govern our joy and sorrow by our kinship that John Donne so perfectly cautioned against:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Good to see life imitating art [*]
...now keenly awaiting the news that the orbiting twin has succumbed to SPACE MADNESS PLAGUE and OVERSIZED DARK CONTACT LENSES and seizes control of Putin's well-known Secret Laser, so (in a Shocking Twist of Fate) the grounded twin Goes Over His Commander's Head to fly to the ISS (he'll break into the "USS Intrepid" and steal the "Enterprise" to do this) because He Is The Only Man Who Can Stop His Twin. And (in a SToF) he must decide to whether to Chance Everything to Give Nadia More Time to Find a Cure. Nadia? Oh, she's the Chinese part of the Love Triangle (a Russian in the first draft but the test audience surveys from Shanghai were really bad)
[*] so crappy lazily-plotted thrillers using the wonders of science for meretricious decoration don't count as art? You patronising elitist snob!
Does a little piece of a PR flack die every time they write this rubbish?
"Improve the user experience" - yes, the only thing wrong with my day is that I haven't had to log on enough times yet...
I do understand their motivation, I do accept their need to pursue revenue, I do know that I'm the product not the customer, et-sodding-cetera. But please stop varnishing the turd (or find a varnish that hides the smell better).
Star gazing ain't what it used to be...
...it's unbelievably better! When I were a lad it was taken as gospel that (optically) the stars amounted to zero dimensional point sources - with a nice big 'scope you could collect more photons and so do some spectroscopy but you would never resolve anything like a disc. Let alone see planets orbiting that disc. Let alone be talking of doing spectroscopy of the atmosphere of those planets. Bloody (marvelous) witchcraft, this.
Lovely image, "flight of geese" - cheers!
I shall go "hoooonk! hooooonk" at the next one I set free :-)
But some bright soul suggested that it's less likely to have been copypasta than somebody not vetting an automatic three-way merge. Perforce used to get it mostly right, tempting me to just submit, go home, and see what if the test results looked good in the morning - but once-in-a-while it would get confused by adjacent changes in the mergees and end up with a partial duplicate like this.
I'm more worried that "unreachable code" is routinely disabled - it's a PITA to have to "#ifdef _DEBUG" or "(void) someParamThatOnlyGotUsedForLogging;" but there aren't many warnings that don't save your butt someday like this.
At least some of the woes are above OS level
The Consumer Reports description: "poorly designed," "maddeningly fussy," "time consuming and cumbersome," and "distracting to use while you're driving." - that all smells like UI & apps, i.e. exactly where Ford is bringing their special expertise to bear. Rehousing the same atop a better OS core won't achieve much so have to hope they have the wit to do some real UI design too.
And for all that's holy, drop the animations and distracting eye-candy: buttons and touch areas need to be big, plain, and predictable, and stay unobtrusive unless they have something important to communicate (and that's "important for the driver", not "important for my team's bonus that we better highlight Twitter connectivity status"). Among the reasons VW gets repeat sales is that you know that the major controls in the next model (or even in different product lines) will look the same, work the same, and be in the same damn place.
> It's well known that Nokia was practically printing money when Elop joined...
According to Tomi Ahonen's highly partisan writings they were at least profitable, with only a single quarter of loss (from the NSN division) and growing smartphone unit sales (not of course at Jobsian margins). The unit sales graph is saddening:
Tomi gets very repetitive (and I'm in awe at his typing speed; rants on a keyboard faster than I do at a bar) but the picture he draws of Elop's time and especially of that astonishing $25M bonus for failure is boggleworthy (less ranty take here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/terokuittinen/2013/09/24/nokia-admits-giving-misleading-information-about-elops-compensation/
And yes, S60 was in trouble - long in dire need of a UI czar with real arse-kicking powers, too much consensus of the "oh gosh let's do both" sort achieved by senior managers unable to control [or understand] their subordinates, too many layers of shims and frameworks soaking up the performance advantage of the Symbian core beneath (and that performance increasingly less relevant in an era of big batteries and frequent recharging)... but had all the crap of competing Qt visions ("Orbit" - nobody could even explain to me how that made sense, let alone how it could work) been quickly stomped and Joy of QML world pursued with vigour then (just maybe) they'd have phoenixed (beyond the dying bird and blazing fire part - that bit happened for sure)
> proves Assange is right to be always looking for who would metaphorically stab him in the back
If you read the LRB piece (long but fascinating) his method of "looking" is more akin to a spouse destroying a marriage by repeated allegation of betrayal: "Admit it! You don't love me any more! You looked at someone else! Stop lying! ... SEE I WAS RIGHT NOT TO TRUST YOU!"
The thing with friendship is that it's a two-way street, and I don't remember reading any effusive thanks (let alone a functional apology) from Assange when his bail guarantors lost substantial amounts of money due to his hiding in the embassy. Rather, he fell out with at least two of them (Khan and his former host, Vaughan Smith):
Julian’s late-night online campaign had the usual effect of turning a bad patch into a vipers’ nest. He never really apologised to anyone, but got busy turning his publishers into the latest enemy, to go alongside Domscheit-Berg, Mark Stephens, the Guardian, the New York Times, my researcher, his former host at Ellingham Hall, the government of Australia, his activist friends in Iceland, and a host of others who’d dared to have their own views. There would be many more to come: Jemima Khan, the Big Issue, Barack Obama and Assange’s own political party in Australia. I only stayed on good terms with him as long as I did because I kept quiet.
Christ had twelve disciples and remained on good terms with eleven of them right to the end; this Messiah of our day seems bedeviled by Judases yet somehow rather less effectively crucified.
What a thoughtful Valentine's pressie for a child of the 80s!
Splendidly written & genuinely informative - it's this sort of relevant-but-left-field article that keeps me reading El Reg! I now have a burning urge to go torrent/tube it as there is bugger-all chance it will ever get shown here (music rights alone would scotch that)
(not so much the reheated press releases devoid of any real critique - but obviously a piece like this takes a lot more time and effort so mustn't be [too] greedy)
Re: Oh dear, 3D selfies...
And once round-tripped through the office 3D printer, a charming memento of the office party for every colleague's desk - a little model your arse (congealed from the purest green, my lord!). Perhaps they'll use the cleft as a business card archive.
Re: "one day!"
Maybe she means it in the colloquial sense of "some day" ? That actually makes sense: some day we'll really know how to train people in teaching (rather than much of it being down to synchronicity, good luck, and intangible brain kinks - actually rather like the algorithm for developing great software engineers...)
@Sir Runcible Spoon - crobots?
It fits your description neatly - I spent many happy lunchtimes battling co-workers. Here's the original:
The biggest flaw was that in effect it simulated a x86 without a x87 maths coprocessor - floating point ops took too many cycles to be useful. So my proudest creation (carefully probing with the radar, narrowing the beam focus to estimate the enemy's vector then applying elementary calculus to choose the aiming point) was trounced by my boss's "psychorabbit" (it didn't use the radar AT ALL, just moved in random spurts while firing blindly as fast as possible)
Luckily I'm not bitter. At all. After all, it's over 20 years ago now. Well maybe just a little bitter...
Even more luckily, there's a shiny NG version here: http://crobots.deepthought.it/home.php
> Lots of us Brits remember last time we tried appeasement on a large scale
To be an utter pedant, it's only the 80+ year-olds that remember it in the strong sense of recalling an experience within one's timeframe, but certainly many bear the example in mind.
But the lesson perhaps runs a little deeper - the thing with 1938 is that Chamberlain had no useful military option, so it wasn't so much an overall policy of appeasement as making a virtue of necessity (and necessity existed on the German side too - they were well aware that their military lead would erode with the progressive re-armament of Allied Nations so if the gamble was ever to be taken it was the right moment for it). So far we don't seem to have devised a better answer than the combination of maintaining a credible deterrence with engagement - si vis pacem, para bellum coupled to "if goods don't cross borders then soldiers will". And in that respect North Korea is a tougher and more isolated nut than Nazi Germany.
@Matt 21 "no-one can stop me as long as I don't [...] use copyrighted material without permission"
Possibly that's true, possibly even a well-funded lawyer might acknowledge the point, but since that copyright material includes aspects of look and feel, graphic designs, names, etc this movie was surely infringing. Even before they "borrowed" the company logos to make it look approved...
A sad case in point - the splendid 2004 book "Tarzan Presley" (being a fusion of the Tarzan story and the Elvis legend used to examine the Kiwi mythos - and a bloody good read) was sued to oblivion by the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, since he invented the character in 1912. It got reissued as "Jungle Rock Blues" with Caliban Presley as the protagonist - luckily so far the estate of William Shakespeare has stayed their hand... (glass half-full: it seems the Presley Estate can accept that the cultural significance of Elvis makes reference both inevitable and not inappropriate)
Roll up! Roll up! Step this way...
...and see your box ravaged just the same. Of the 2.5 successes that "Pinkie Pie" has had at previous Pwnium contests, at least 1.5 look as if they would have worked against your sort of config (and just possibly the other one would too - although you're blocking plugins & scripting code it was exploiting a defect in the controlling when native client code was allowed to run, so maybe it would bypass NoScript too).
It's worth a coffee-break to go through the details of the attacks - they're scary-good:
> Is the deep reason of FAIL the northern "third way" semi-socialistic model?
That's like one of those teaser questions on the cover of a tabloid magazine at the checkout - "IS BIN LADEN STILL ALIVE???". And the answer in both cases is "uh-uh, nopety-nope".
Nokia's internals were hardly socialistic - they went through all sorts of contortions to generate internal competition. The problem was that these were mostly crap and prone to backfiring, such as the notorious phase of dividing the smartphone market into three types (something like business, media, and messaging) and decreeing what features fell into each type. So business gets the fast CPU and media gets the autofocus camera, thus the next business phone boasted a barcode reader app but could only resolve enormous barcodes painted on the side of a barn and the media phone struggled with playback and games. Truly shades of "Life of Brian":
("Campaign for Free Gallilee" and "People's Front of Judea" start fighting)
BRIAN: Brothers! Brothers! We should be struggling together!
FRANCIS: We are! Ohh.
BRIAN: We mustn't fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!
EVERYONE: The Judean People's Front?!
BRIAN: No, no! The Romans!
(and nevermind the delusion that the customers will neatly segment - business folk never play games or take photos, etc. Or perhaps they'll buy (and lug around) two separate phones, and spend those lonely hotel nights resyncing the contacts dbs with each other and relishing the opportunity to try out all the local swear words)
This craziness wasn't a socialist planned economy - I think in part it was to try to avoid the innovator's dilemma by having radical competition arising internally before some Visigoths could bring it crashing through the front door. But done in this Laurel & Hardy way all it did was provoke lots of siloing.
Re: Capitalism: One should try it from time to time
The oracle has spoken: "the point of a free and competitive market is to give me a fair crack at achieving a powerful enough position that it would be better for that competition to cease forever. Better for whom, you ask? Well everything is connected, send not to know for whom the bell tolls old chap, I think it's safe to conclude that if I eat a whole suckling pig and then let rip an enormous fart then I've created a richer atmosphere for us both."
> Developers might also want to consider any offers for their code
Or at least hold out for one of those six-figures-per-month offers. If true (13 cents per user per month so not inconceivable if the purchaser plans to monopolise them for advertising) and actually paid then that's surely going to turn the hearts and morals of many a developer. Money on the "organised crime" scale has long been an effective moral solvent.
Someday soon my kids will be rolling their eyes at my well-worn rant about "I remember when the point of malware was printing "GIMME COOKIE"
NZ fiscal whizzkids once explored the bounds of non-progressive tax
About twenty years ago the Treasury Dept (always on the astringent side of dry) carefully balanced part of the budget by cutting low-income benefits by X megabucks. Come the end of that fiscal year they were gobsmacked to find that the tax take fell by a hearty fraction of X megabucks - because of course the orchestrated litany of dole bludgers, solo mums getting up the duff deliberately, and other such bogeymen always spent almost all of their money within the local economy, so getting significantly recycled by the GST (consumption) tax and income taxes of the local shopkeepers.
(this isn't buying into the fight of how/if social welfare should be delivered or whether globalcorps are a nett good. I just found it bleakly funny that the whizzkids claimed to have the pulse of the country but hadn't completed this join-the-dot picture)
> Each topic is accompanied by a headline that briefly explains why it is trending
It was a quick feature to implement:
cout << "Because too many twats clicked 'Like'";
(but got held up in translation after Texans objected to the use of "fanny")
> Most of our problems are over a long period of time
Of course they are - no sensible parasite ever bleeds the host out all at once.
> If the docking port bell rings
Or as the Finnish Culture Office once expressed it:
Something's knocking at my Sputnik's door
A little green man who wants to score
I know what a "con" is...
...but what is a "fide"?
Re: How many Directors
I once saw a man bite his own head off! In broad daylight too, leaving no trace of physical violence.
That seems like a whole lot of trouble! Take a tip from the experts: strip him, lock him inside a sports bag, pop it in the bath (less cleanup for the girlfriend - every little helps!), and you're home in time for the accidental death verdict.
Never mind all this! - are the kids alright!?
That far away from the in-laws...
...and they still have to resort to a spot of DIY before Boxing Day!
I look forward to auto-play ads getting on my tits faster than ever before!
I rather hope that in another 27 years we've got cheaper ways to produce diamonds than crapping all over Antarctica
The shadows never lie!
But occasionally it proves necessary to issue non-operative truths to avoid information disclosure to enemies of the state [*] strictly in the interests of state security.
[*] formerly known as "citizens"
Never be the first mover
It's right up there with getting involved in land wars in Asia - just about the time your heroic efforts have started to move the world you'll run out of money, energy, or the patience of partners, and then usually someone still clever but a little less pioneering will reap the benefits.
Golly! Is the air thin up there, where you look down on Shamir?
Every man and his dog knew of EMI interference and used it for tunes (see also: floppy drive symphonies, dot matrix printers, etc) or to communicate code state when no other output is possible (tight loop for N seconds to leak a debug value, etc). But this "super crypto genius" (you got that right) isn't dealing with EMI from code under his control - this is using real audible sound (coming largely from the power regulator in the laptop dancing around with the likes of Intel SpeedStep and voltage scaling) to extract the complete state from a complex and intentionally hard-to-analyse system. And demonstrated it for real, not just as a thought experiment. Frankly I'd be well chuffed to have pulled that off, and had I been asked if it was possible would have doubtless said "nope".
And as a petty snark on "round things have less friction than square things" notion - just leave your handbrake on and take the car for a quick push along the road... (wheels are good but it's not directly about friction)
Please post this sort thing on Friday afternoons
as I'm now finding it unusually hard to fake productivity
Just try budging the doctors...
Between me (aging accident prone fart) and the kids in the past three months I've been perched beside PCs in several medical practices and hospitals. And every single one was clearly running XP (default PlaySkool theme and screensaver), and equally clearly networked. So either their networks are wonderfully firewalled and an IT squad from Tom Clancy's wettest dream guards them ("the damaged ceiling tile? well Bob was just plugging in his WLAN router from home when a ninja pulled him up through it..."), or 4Chan will be changing my next prostate check into a gender reassignment.
Yep I've had some happy time gazing at the stars, but unfortunately I only manage to feel such selfless tranquility for a few seconds before something mundane interrupts. In my heart of hearts I fear I aspire to become an exec like this:
Exec #1: Item six on the agenda: "The Meaning of Life" Now uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.
Exec #2: Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this "soul" does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
Exec #3: What was that about hats again?
Exec #2: Oh, Uh... people aren't wearing enough.
Exec #1: Is this true?
Exec #4: Certainly. Hat sales have increased but not pari passu, as our research...
Exec #3: [Interrupting] "Not wearing enough"? enough for what purpose?
Exec #5: Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted...
[looking out window]
Exec #5: Has anyone noticed that building there before?
But (rather like art galleries) my mild shame at not doing more civilised things myself is at least balanced by awe at and gratitude for those who do, like these star mapping boffins.
> The only way to confirm the theory
Yet more of this petty thinking that slows progress to a crawl! Why not:
(1) Get the attention of some intergalactic[*] herbivores[**] and ask them to take a Polaroid[***] on their next jaunt.
(2) Build a big strong wall (use the stuff from ringworlds) from the core black hole out a very long way, then crouch behind it and count the number of "splats" - when it has been quiet for a very long time it's safe to assume the whole galaxy has become jam.
(3) Multiple the universal time constant by minus one, wait for the universe to regress enough that our galaxy is just forming, then pay closer attention this time.
But instead of manly decisive action we're relying upon boffins counting stars. I blame Obama! (not specifically on this point, it's more a general policy of mine on anything to do with space, like the premature cancellation of Apollo).
[*] Important! intragalactic bug-eyed monsters may be too embarrassed to admit they don't know either and just make up any old rubbish to feel superior
[**] Even more important!
[***] These are BEMs with blasters and hyperdrives and voluptuous Venusian vixens; of course they have advanced to the Polaroid stage!
"Screw this velvet glove nonsense - when wet with blood it makes my iron gauntlet rust"
Re: Elop will do an amazing job
Verily Brother Mikel, at last the prophesised "Year of Linux on the Desktop" is at hand!
(a.k.a. The year of Windows Live 8.2 Permanently On-Line Subscription Service Cock-punch Edition" or "April Fool 365" for short)
"Relax darling - I promise I'll pull out in time ... yes I know I said that last time but tonight it's different"
Re: Even easier to stop...
Headphone jacks don't always have a physical interlock - as I've found to my peril a couple of times, when I've fired up some sweet sweet sounds on my noise-cancelling headphones to retreat into undisturbed productivity, only to have agitated coworkers inform me (by throwing things) that the main speakers were also running. And it really was a software issue - mute/unmute fixed it: my wild-ass guess is that rather than have a physical switch on the jack the sound system uses the impedence/current on it as the control, so saving a cent or two.
(this is among many good reasons not to watch porn at work)
The question is "how much damage can you imagine from even small pieces of data?" - think passwords, private keys, rotor speeds for centrifuge arrays...
That's being wise after the fact - I wouldn't dismiss the Black Death as a non-event because it's easily circumvented by improved sanitation, nutrition, and medical practice. The question is whether people running air-gapped systems thought to do this for the preceding N years. And as for simply muting the sound - since it's ultrasonic and produced by low-level software you wouldn't trust anything less than snipping the wire to the speaker (unless it's a surface-mounted device in a laptop. Then I guess you carefully drive pins into it until it seems to have stopped making useful noises and hope you don't knacker anything fragile behind it)
Re: Darwinian thoughts
The barriers do add their own failure modes - one sweltering summer evening rush hour on the Jubilee Line someone pressed the emergency stop just as the train started moving. Safety rules say "train will halt at current station as long as any part remains within the station" (so you can evacuate to where you are right now rather than trusting to get safely to next station), so train stops. Driver is then required to personally verify the cause of the stop and reset the switch, normally he'd do this by getting to the platform as quickly as possible (his door, or the first accessible passenger door) and jogging back to the carriage with the problem, but because the track and train doors were already offset he had to squeeze through the length of half a dozen sweaty sardine cans, and back again, by which time my carriage felt like a hothouse stocked with corpse flowers.
(of course in a true emergency one can smash out the track windows but I imagine he'd already heard from the perpetrator "I lost my balance and grabbed the handle")