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* Posts by Peter Murphy

283 posts • joined 17 May 2009

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Want to know what CIA spooks really think of spy movies and books?

Peter Murphy

Re: Huh?

I want to see the CIA review for the Alec Guinness mini series, and I believe I am not alone.

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Anons torn over naming 'n' shaming of 17yo's gang-rape suspects

Peter Murphy

Latest from the Anolymous pastebin.

It can be found here.

As most of you are aware we have decided that it is best to withhold the names of the alleged rapists we have identified. We are doing this for two reason. Firstly, Leah Parsons, mother of Rehtaeh has asked us to. We feel that honoring the Parsons wishes while they lay their daughter Rehtaeh to rest is the respectful thing to do. Secondly, we are aware that new evidence may have possibly been presented to the RCMP. If this is true, nothing should interfere with that investigation. We would much prefer to see someone in jail than their only punishment to be shame. That would not be justice.

It has come to our attention that several names have already been posted online to various websites, even tossed around on Twitter. Be aware that 99% of you have named someone that is innocent. You may have gotten one name right, but all the good you think you are doing will be displaced by the harm you will cause to the innocent young men you have wrongly named. We urge you to be patient. If it's a guilty party you're looking for, look no further than the RCMP or the Cole Harbour School District.

Anonymous is not a homogenous group, but hopefully the wiser heads tell the more foolish ones to STFU for the time being.

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Australia gets a space strategy

Peter Murphy
Go

Dips in Spaceeeeeee............

That would be a hell of a scientific experiment: can one dip a sheep in zero gravity? How do you deal with the big floating droplet of the stuff, and can you do it for multiple sheep? It might be Ig Nobel worthy material, but someone should have a go.

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Attack of the CYBER NORKS! Pyongyang in frontal assault online

Peter Murphy
Stop

Re: For a country where the Internet is completely banned...

North Korea probably has quite a few agents over in South Korea, some with IT and technical nous. They're not being controlled all the time, and many have the initiative to research how to hack computers.

South Korea may be an easier place to hack than anticipated. It's not that the country's bad at security; it's quite good, but...

All this goes back to 1990s, when Korea developed its own encryption technology, SEED, to secure e-commerce transactions. Consumers were supplied with a digital certificate, protected by a personal password, for any online transaction in order to prove their identity. For websites to be able to verify these certificates, the technology requires users to install a Microsoft ActiveX plug-in.

But the problem with ActiveX is that it is only supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer. Despite the concerns even at the time, the South Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) mandated the use of SEED, and thus, ActiveX and digital security certificates.

After the mandate, web developers not only optimised the banking and e-commerce websites to work with IE, but all websites, thus leaving the entire country a slave to this Microsoft browser. The worst affected were the consumers with operating systems like Apple's OS X and Linux, which do not support Internet Explorer."

So you have a monoculture of supporting just one browser, as opposed to the heterogenous mix outside South Korea. Monocultures are ecologically vulnerable. And Active X doesn't have a good reputation in the security community.

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Australia's coalition launches new broadband policy

Peter Murphy
Stop

Re: Turnbull is Abbott's Bitch

I don't feel sorry for him at all. If he thinks the policy sucks, he should never have become the shadow minister responsible for announcing the policy. He should have become a backbencher instead, or better still, a crossbencher.

Politicians supporting policies they privately think are rubbish: that's one of the things that pisses me off about politics. I've lost a lot of respect for Malcolm over his fraudband policy. Seriously, I'd had more respect for him if he'd stolen ALP policy, changed a few names and labels, and announced it as his own. At the end of the day, it would be policy that is actually working now - because the NBN is already in operation in several areas.

Instead, he's making shit up about $90 BN blowouts in the existing plan that have no basis in fact. And the Coalition's plan is a bastartised ADSL that relies on a private monopoly (Telstra) to deliver the goods over copper over the last mile or km. It's a disgrace.

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Merde! Dummkopf! Google Translate used as spam cloak

Peter Murphy
Go

Make mine plain text as well.

I happen to be a UTF-8 luddite. I don't mind Unicode emails, but I don't like HTML emails.

Google have got themselves into a little bit of hot water with their new Composer interface, which they try to force on to their users. There is a "plain text" option, but it appears to be HTML underneath. People are not happy.

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Forget the invisibility cloak: Boffins invent INVISIBILITY FISHNETS

Peter Murphy
Stop

"When UK slang prompts mass WTF proclamations"

I'd say it's the fault of the WTFer, not the WTFtee. What's wrong with extending one's vocabulary?

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Rubbish IT means DEATH for UK Border Agency, announces May

Peter Murphy
Unhappy

I've seen UKBA IT in action.

I had to fill out an online form for my wife's visa application for the UK. It was fucked up. It was one of those "fill out the fields" forms on a Javascript window. Rather than have one big page, all the fields were split over 15 pages with "Forward" and "Back" buttons linking them. To check errors, I had to hit "Back" 14 times to correct them. It was a UI bollocks. Plus it didn't accept 'special characters' like single quotes or back slashes. Not impressed.

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Microsoft needs to keep visible under waves of Blue

Peter Murphy
Coat

Re: Blue ?

I'm actually thinking of Miles Davis. Why am I doing that?

Miles recorded a very famous album called Kind of Blue. The name of the first track is how I react to most Microsoft press releases. It's called "So What".

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Ethernet at 40: Its daddy reveals its turbulent youth

Peter Murphy
Stop

Re: Ethernet is the Ayn Rand network?

It's not so easy to draw a political moral from the development of the Ethernet. If it's libertarian, it's more social libertarian ala Noam Chomsky rather than the capitalist libertopia of Ayn Rand. The nodes are just communicating with each other, after all. They're sending out packets, not accummulating them.

The only connection to Atlas Strugged is this. IBM tried to go Galt. They failed.

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China is world's most malware-ridden nation

Peter Murphy
FAIL

PC Security is Shithouse

We've been talking about the country with the greatest incident of malware. What about the one with the least? Looking at the report, it turns out to be Sweden, at 20.25 percent of infected PCs. It's not in single figures, as one would hope. Instead, it's just over a third of the Chinese figure - not a tenth or a hundredth. One deduces that every other country in the world has a higher infection rate than the 20.25% given above. It's a disgrace. At least a fifth of the world's PCs are infected, and the average is probably closer to a third.

I have a dream: to live in a world where, without too much IT knowledge, you can buy a PC and use it without being infected with crap. To type your assignments without being corrupted by random software, and to use your broswer without being hassled by redirects and login/password thefts.

But we don't live in that world. Turns out PCs have a greater infection rate that sharing needles in a crackhouse held in a TB ward.

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Google files patent for eyewear that SHOOTS LASERS

Peter Murphy
Stop

Reliable, cheap lasers.

Wicked Lasers sell lasers as a consumer product in various colours, including blue in its "Arctic" range. It's pretty powerful, at 1.25 W: it's enough to burn your retinas (or objects across the room).

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Nipper's toy train enjoys journey to edge of SPAAAAACE

Peter Murphy
Pint

Cheers to the Little Engine that Could!

I wonder what it was going through its mind as it floated off to space. "I think I can... I think I can..."?

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'Physical pressure' from Iran’s cyber cops killed blogger

Peter Murphy
FAIL

Firing the police chief?

Fuck that. Arrest and charge the bastard as well.

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The year GNOMES, Ubuntu sufferers forked off to Mint Linux

Peter Murphy
WTF?

Software Design Antipattern #1

It's deliberately ignoring the users' wishes. And it's probably the biggest antipattern in the software business. Don't know why it's so prevalent, but it's there.

Both Microsoft, Canonical and the GNOME development team have committed this antipattern. Microsoft can get away with it (more or less) because they have the market share - but they're more vulnerable than 10 years ago. The others have really blown their feet off as far as getting new users.

It's a shame. I'm an Ubuntu user, but not an Unity user. I'm running Cinnamon on top of the distro - a fork of GNOME 3. Look like GNOME 2, which is what I want. I have yet to have a bug. So it's not like Canonical and GNOME are useless. What I've had to do is to configure my system deliberately overrule their bad design decisions. I have the skills to do it. But others don't, and that's driving their user base away. As I said, it's a shame. If someone actually worked out a Cinnamonbuntu distro, that would be the saving of both organisations. But you have to defeat Software Design Antipattern #1 first.

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Another Apple maps desert death trap down under

Peter Murphy
Happy

Re: The Outback

My dad and I drove from Brisbane to Darwin in 1985. Most of it is Outback. We brought spares (a good idea, because our fanbelt broke between Augathella and Blackall) and a map, but no GPS. The latter wasn't necessary, because we stuck to the highway the whole route.

When you go off the highway - that's when GPSs are necessary. But on the highway, road signs are good enough to get you where you need to be.

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Hacking bazaar ExploitHub gets hacked, database leaked

Peter Murphy
WTF?

Magento

Any product that needs to run with 777 permissions... see the icon.

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Apple updates maps to remove Australia’s ghost-city in the desert

Peter Murphy
WTF?

Re: Centre of local council area

Interesting error. So why did they introduce a new methodology with Australia that isn't even the one they use in the United States? The geographic centre of New York is a traffic centre in Queens, but the "point of interest" you'd expect to navigate to would be something like New York City Hall or possibly Times Square. Both of these are in Manhattan.

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Business sues for $750,000 over bad Yelp review

Peter Murphy
Stop

In my opinion, "Washington-based contractor" is damaging enough.

It makes me think of defense companies charging the Pentagon a shitload of money for substandard work - $35 million for showers that electrocute troops, $8000 for toilet seats, that sort of thing.

Perhaps Dietz should move to Baltimore, just in case.

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I've got the 'fastest growing THINGY ever', boasts Google+ chief

Peter Murphy
Unhappy

Facebook ≈ Google+

That's Google+'s problem: they provide roughly the same features that Facebook has. Both support posts, both support comments on posts, both have a concept of "friendship", and both even allow you to split your "friends" into groups. Google+'s Circles are far easier to use than Facebook's lists, but Circles are not the game changer that Google expected it to be.

There are some differences - more games on Facebook, video chat on Google+ - but it's true to say that both are operating in the same paradigm. Google+ might be trying to catch up in numbers, but so many people are so time-poor that they can't bother supporting two social networks. So they're going to stick with the one with most of their friends - i.e., Facebook.

Until Google+ comes up with something that breaks the paradigm - some sort of system that makes the graphics out of "Minority Report" look like a punch card machine - they'll be lagging behind Facebook indefinitely.

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'Build us a Death Star, President Obama' demand thousands

Peter Murphy
Stop

"With a death star, we could finally disolve the UN."

If so, then you better move their head office out of New York first. Because turning your largest city into a pile of lava just to get at the UN would just look bloody stupid.

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Frenchmen's sperm plunges by a third in quality and quantity since '89

Peter Murphy
Headmaster

Re: Professor Richard Sharpe?

But in the books, Sharpe generally got along with the French when he wasn't killing them. He once dropped in on Napoleon in St. Helena, and had quite a cordial and respectful meeting. He even ended the series by settling in Normandy with a local woman. He had no problem killing the French in battle, but neither did he have any issue with organising a truce afterwards when necessary (e.g., collecting the dead).

Killing for duty or revenge, but never xenophobia: that's our Richard Sharpe.

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Badges for Commentards

Peter Murphy

Get in the first post which captures the mood of the pitchfork-wielders.

And if you can't get in the first post, another trick is to reply to the first post. So even if people are late, they have a better chance to get on the first page with its greater potential for upvoting.

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Gangnam Style beats Bieber Baby, becomes biggest timewaste EVER

Peter Murphy
Unhappy

I don't get the fuss about the music.

I had heard rumours about this video, but never saw it until a "Service Oriented Architecture" class at uni. The lecturer was trying to make some sort of strained point point about systems talking to each other while using different programming languages. Here's a video in Korean yet popular in the English speaking world, so let's show the Gangnam Style video. That's the entirety of the logic. (And he was a pretty crap lecturer in other ways.)

So I watched the video with increasing bewilderment. Why was this the most popular video in YouTube history? I didn't understand. It wasn't that bad, but it was pretty derivative - kinda like a washed out "Pump Up the Jam" from Technotronic from 1989, shot by Benny Hill's choreographer.

I'm not a connoisseur of good hip-hop - my preferences start and end with Public Enemy - but I know what's good and what's just mediocre. There is good stuff out there; Psy isn't it.

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Acid oceans DISSOLVING sea life

Peter Murphy

Re: They'll evolve?

Well, the only descendants of the dinosaurs surviving come through one sub-order: the Theropoda, and one species in it in particular. Everything else in that clade is extinct - like Tyrannosaurus - as are the rest of the dinosaurs as well. So yep, you're right, but without that single surviving species, the dinosaurs would have left no progency on. It's not like the rest of the reptiles, which left several routes for evolution: crocodiles, turtles, snakes, mammals and so on.

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Peter Murphy
FAIL

They'll evolve?

Lots of things living in the Cretaceous didn't get to evolve. You might have heard of those strange beasties known as the dinosaurs. None of their descendants are living today (Archaeopteryx and other ancestors of birds excepted). They couldn't adapt quick enough to a changing climate. What happened is that other animals evolved to fill the same ecological niches.

I should add that 65 million years is not my idea of "a little time".

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ACCC calls for liberalised copyright in Oz

Peter Murphy
WTF?

Re: Citizens ARE copyright holders

Few people use Facebook to write original content. Much stuff I have seen is either "funny" pictures - LolCats and their ilk - or "information" of such dubious merit that it has its own Snopes page. In either case, it is derivative content.

If one really wants to make original content, there are many places to do so for free: Tumblr, Wordpress and Blogspot. Facebook isn't one of them.

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Fanbois: The Next Generation. YOUR CHILDREN belong to Apple now

Peter Murphy
Happy

Peer Group Pressure

An iPad is to today's generation what those old handheld Nintendo Donkey Kong machines were to mine. You can do more with an iPad, but for many of the kids, it's their own little bit of bling for the playground. And children want what other ones have.

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John McAfee blogs for help, offers $25K reward for neighbour's killer

Peter Murphy
Stop

Re: Wow... WTF?

Belize, unlike the countries around it, was settled by the British. It's not even a republic; it's one of those countries that has Elizabeth II as head of state and supports a parliamentary system. It's heritage would be closer to the Caribbean countries. Not that it would be nice to be imprisoned by them, but I'd feel safer there than in a prison in Guatemala or Honduras.

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London gets huge Defecator Enthroned statue for World Toilet Week

Peter Murphy
Meh

Re: Whilst I love the idea

Agree with you that the inoffensiveness makes the point - well, not pointless, but blunted. The concept behind the whole installation is that not everybody has access to clean toilets, and so faeces end up going where they shouldn't go: back into the mouth. This kills people by the diseases transmitted, and it's obviously a bad thing. Many can see how an abstract figure relates to the concept, but for most it's just a laff.

I agree with you about the straining, yes - but I don't know about the book. Reading books on the loo is mostly a first-world pastime, because people can keep their hands clean and the poo separate from the pages. You wouldn't do that in some dodgy WC in Calcutta shared by 30,000 other people as desperate as you. Not your favourite book, anyway. So what's my big idea to get the concept to the masses?

What I happen to notice is that the installation is made almost wholly out of white blocks. Let's just say that a brown block or five in judiciously chosen places would convey the idea of anal-to-oral disease transmission a lot, lot better. It's not nice and it's not pleasant, but then about two billion people have to live without such niceties and pleasantries. So let's not worry about offending people, shall we?

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Chinese cloud firm offers 'love bonus' to amorous staff

Peter Murphy
FAIL

Wondering if Chinese had a term for sexual harassment...

I discovered that it does. According to Google Translate, it's "性骚扰" (Simplified, not Traditional).

I wager the term's going to be a running topic of conversation at the firm.

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Humans becoming steadily STUPIDER, says brainiac boffin

Peter Murphy
FAIL

The argument fails even by its own standard.

If I understand it, Professor Crabtree is trying to point out that the Athenians of 1000BC are brighter than people today. But his problem is that the ancient Athenians that got themselves in the history books for being "smart" - blokes like Sophocles, Herodotus, Hippocrates, Socrates and Pericles - actually lived in the 400s BC. So if there's been a decline in intelligence since 1000BC, why did all the big names occur 600 years later?

The argument sounds suss to me.

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Accidental discounts land Apple in NZ's Disputes Tribunal

Peter Murphy
Stop

Re: Sale of Goods act

Pretty much. If he has an electronic receipt (in pdf form, with the Apple logo at the top) showing the items at the marked-down price, then it is going to make it hard for Apple to dispute the transaction in court. They're probably going to lose more money in legal fees than they "saved" by intercepting the courier.

Money would be better spent on cleaning up the algorithms that calculated the discounts in the first place.

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Texas woman sues cops over burst Bulgarian airbag

Peter Murphy
Stop

Re: American police always acting professionally?

My impression is that there seems to be too many police forces (not police) for the population of the US. You have federal level police like the FBI, then you have state police, then there's county police, and then there's city police. Since there are a lot counties and cities in the USA, there's a lot of police forces - each with a level of training (or lack of thereof). So some organizations - I guess - would be more or less professional, but other would be a bunch of "Respect mah authoritah" yahoos who watched too many episodes of COPS. The latter are the types who get themselves into the media in a bad way.

No criticism from Australia intended - we've had problems with dodgy cops ourselves. But at least things are a little simpler: Federal police for the ACT (and Australia), and 7 police forces for the NT and each of the six states. All of these have a career structure that involves some level of basic training - training that seems to be absent from the cops in this story.

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Naughty-step Apple buries court-ordered apology with JavaScript

Peter Murphy
Happy

Re: Stupid, stupid move.

I'd go one further - use "blink" and "marquee" for the sentence declaration. Of course, it pisses over Apple's "sense" of aesthetics. Good. They deserve no better.

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Mexican Zetas ENSLAVING engineers to run crimelords' radio net

Peter Murphy

Re: Savagery

Drugs and corruption. It's hard to stamp out the Cartels when there's so many Mexican police paid to tip them off, or to look the other way.

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TRULY sinister blond madman signed for Bond 24, whisper insiders

Peter Murphy
WTF?

I drink your milkshare, Mr. Bond! I drink it up!

Assange doesn't work for me as a Bond villain - even as a joke. He's not scary at all. Irritating? Often. Brilliant? Sometimes. Frightening? Nope. Even Mike Myers is scarier that him playing a Blofeld parody.

Now if we were talking about someone of the calibre of - say - Daniel Day Lewis playing a Bond villain, I'd get behind that. Or Samuel L. Jackson. Or possibly Ben Mendelsohn.

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Google defamed Australian man with links to gangster

Peter Murphy

Re: "not least because he was shot by a masked gunman"

Trkulja was the man shot by a masked gunman. Why someone would do it remains unresolved. Mokbel sounds more like the kind of guy that would shoot people instead.

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Hobbits enlisted to make punters look at the air-safety vid

Peter Murphy

Good ad

But I'd wish they'd got Sauron to take his helmet off. A bit of a Workplace Health and Safety issue, especially in the "Brace" position.

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Apple turns off Siri’s potty mouth

Peter Murphy
Joke

So can Siri understand euphemisms?

To use a Terry Pratchett example: "Where can I find a seamstress at this time of night?"

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Microsoft opens Windows Phone 8 dev kit to world+dog

Peter Murphy
Stop

Here's an idea for Microsoft.

People may want to develop in Windows Phone 8. So why force developers to download (via their shitty and slow Download Manager) the full 1.6GB of their Windows Phone 8 SDK with Visual Studio 2012 added in as a mandatory extra?

Instead, why not just provide the SDK as a smaller add-on to earlier Visual Studio releases like 2010 and 2008? A couple of tens of megabytes, maybe, but nothing to deter people from having a go. But when you get up to gigabytes... that's when people start to baulk. Especially with the glacial speeds of Download Manager, which I found often 28K/s or slower on a fibre optic connection.

I was in a Uni course a few weeks ago on cloud computing, and one of the tasks asked was to make an app and connect it to Azure. It's easy to get a Phone 8 "store" there when you've got an account given to you - but no-one wants to make a Phone 8 app to go there when you have to install VS2012. Students often feel leery about installing programs on computers that don't belong to them; it could land them in trouble. So almost everybody ended up making their apps in Windows Phone 7.1, as VS2010 was already on the lab computers.

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Chrome extension blocks political speech on Facebook

Peter Murphy
Thumb Up

Re: Can I be the first

Pretty good list, although you left out "Juliar" - a sure sign that the post is both political and unreadable.

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Dr No, Thunderball, Casino Royale? Vote now for the best Bond film

Peter Murphy
Happy

Re: OHMSS

Would YouTube do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN8GcRGNWe4

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ESO's nine-gigapixel galactic image has 84 MILLION stars

Peter Murphy
Happy

Re: And they looked upon the universe spread before them

Blow up the picture to a couple of metres height, and bend it so that the walls make a cylinder. The radius would be measured in metres as well. Then sit in the middle.

It's a DIY Total Perspective Vortex.

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Craig, Connery or ... Dalton? Vote now for the ultimate James Bond

Peter Murphy
Thumb Up

Re: Brosnan totally looked the part...

I reckon the best Pierce Brosnan "Bond" movie was actually "The Tailor of Panana". Not a Bond movie, but a spy movie - and Brosnan played it wonderfully sleazy and nasty. (As real spies often are.)

"Don't be a cunt, Harry, we're made for each other. You've got the debts, I've got the money. Where's your patriotism?"

"I had it out in prison, without an anesthetic."

Le Carre - as an ex-intelligence officer - had very unromantic ideas of the secret agent business.

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Theresa May gets a smile out of Gary McKinnon at last

Peter Murphy
Unhappy

A 'true patriot'?

You're right, Ben. David sounds like one of those guys who is very, very good at ignoring facts that do not fit his preconceived ideas. I exchanged a few tweets with him yesterday, pointing out that it is a human right not to be raped in a US prison (as was likely to happen to McKinnon). Not a peep back.

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Kaspersky Lab to create new OS 'to save the world'

Peter Murphy
FAIL

"It will be written entirely from scratch."

So what language are they going to use to write it in? Unless they really go off the reservation, it would be C, wouldn't it? (And if they choose another language, then it's going to be a lot slower, and possibly come with its own set of vulnerabilities. Unless they decide to go for machine code, which would make development really, really slow.)

Now C is great for what it does - getting low level - but it comes with a lot of dangers, such as buffer overflows. There'll be lots of places where buffers will be involved in kernel code. Kaspersky has to make sure that all the buffers and arrays don't overflow. All of them. Otherwise, you have a nice vulnerability that hackers can play around with - a bit like a competent burglar with a lockpick in a keyhole. And if there's one hole, there's probably two or three more.

Plus the "security by obscurity" - ok, what routines have to be obscured to make the OS secure? Encryption? What. A. Joke. All serious encryption algorithms are peer reviewed, like RSA and Diffie–Hellman. The idea is that the keys are secret, but the algorithms - which often can be expressed in a couple of lines of math - is left open, so that researchers can find vulnerabilities.

This reminds me of the Clipper Chip, the NSA's chip that was meant to be secure because one of its algorithms was obscure. Except that it got hacked in 1994 by someone outside of the agency.

Like others, I'm suspicious of what the obscure code is for. FSB backdoor? Who knows.

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Paid secur-o-ware is generally better than free, but not always by a lot

Peter Murphy
WTF?

Call me naive

I'm reading this sentence:

Antivirus tests that assess the effectiveness of security products from the moment users visit infected websites have exposed widely differing performances among the various anti-malware products.

But what if your browser blocks the sites for you? Firefox does that a lot. Do you have to fork out money for the anti-malware product, or would it be a waste?

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Orally urinating turtle boffin in nominative-determinism classic case

Peter Murphy
Go

Re: Shit Fun Chew is a *she*

It is, actually. Here's her bio page.

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Google updates Street View with 250,000 miles of footage

Peter Murphy
Stop

Five year old images useless? Not quite.

I remember when Google Street View rolled out in Australia. What amazed me and my acquaintances was that the mappers didn't stick to the big cities (which is what the American Googlers were doing at the time [*]), but were taking long drives out into the Outback, cameras snapping away. So there are long, long shots of roads such as the Stuart Highway - 2834km from Adelaide to Darwin, with less than 100,000 people along the whole stretch of road. Since the land is millions of years old, I don't think five years have dated the flicks too much.

Now, you might find it useless to look at desert landscapes from the comfort of one's computer. But I find them beautiful - five years old or not - and it's nice that you can pan around as well. It's also educational. When you look at the photos, you start to understand why such as large country as Australia (area wise) has a third the population of the UK.

[* Things have changed now. You can now get Google Street View of the Dalton Highway, which goes through the virtually uninhabited tundra of northern Alaska. I also find those photos beautiful. But as I recall, Google Australia were the first to take the Street View camera and go for long drives in the Back o' Beyond.]

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