* Posts by Nigel 11

2691 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Mozilla flings teddy out of pram over France's 'Patriot Act'

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Laws and the public good

A broad comment.

There seems to be an unhealthy trend to legalize things that intelligence services want to do, and to hope or assume that such legalization won't then be used in a malign way by future governments.

Surely it's far better to turn a selectively blind eye to intelligence agencies breaking a the law, provided they are still operating in the nation's interest and not using illegally obtained intelligence in any way that's outside their remit. Then should they step out of the dark grey zone in which they are supposed to operate, it's far easier for the courts to do something about it.

If I'm unclear ... for you or I to break some speed limits is justified if we are getting a seriously ill person to hospital as fast as reasonably possible. The crown prosecution service would hopefully decide that to prosecute was not in the public interest. It's not written into the law which circumstances permit what degree of aggressive driving. How could it be? You have to claim that what you were doing was illegal but to the greater public good, and if necessary let a court decide.

5
0

Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

Nigel 11
Silver badge

I hope this is programmed right ...

I hope that the car is programmed to slacken off the emergency braking when that's appropriate and to come to a halt no more than a few feet behind the obstruction. Otherwise I forsee some massive (albeit low-speed) pile-ups on our Motorways, when one of those density waves in busy traffic triggers some vehicle's autonomous emergency braking.

12
1

Amazon, eBay and Oracle in dirty power SHAME

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: More important things

they don't usually have solar panels or turbines on the roof

Well, they ought to. There are companies that will rent roof space and install the solar panels, should the server farm operators not wish to make the investment themselves. Heck, building codes ought to outlaw large areas of roof with high insolation that aren't equipped with solar panels!

(As for the cost - how about scrapping a few regulations that marginally increase a building's fire safety at considerable added construction cost? Unnecessarily pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere is a far greater hazard!)

0
4
Nigel 11
Silver badge

"AWS's continued lack of transparency is a problem that will likely become a bigger concern to its customers. AWS has recently stated that it is currently 25 per cent renewably powered, but with no additional detail provided,"

Which could mean "we get out power from the national grid in the country where our datacentre is located, and the statistics provided by our power suppliers suggest that 25% of the power that they supply to us comes from renewable sources".

Electricity can't be stored to any grid-scale meaningful extent, and it can't be labelled or assayed. For any company foolishly paying a premium for renewably sourced electricity, there's another one being subsidized to take the electricity generated by dirty power stations at a (slightly) lower price! Any claim for a grid-connected facility that it's "100% renewably powered" is greenwash, pure and simple.

Which isn't to say that renewable generation is pointless, but that targeting particular consumers is pointless (except if they have a facility that might be running with solar power off its roof, or might be using its "waste" heat constructively, and aren't.)

The greenest thing that server farm operators could do is to invest in cooling systems that dump "waste" heat into water, that could then be sold to surrounding communities for indoor heating during eight or more months of the year. Sadly, there seem to be no economic incentives being provided to encourage the recycling of "waste" heat so it ceases to be wasted. Solar or wind generation, yes. Running indoor heating with energy that's already been used once, no.

2
0

Samsung offers $90,000 if you can fix California's epic drought with tech

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Lawnkiller drone?

Equip a fleet of small drones with image processing kit that can detect bright green grass immediately adjacent to houses in the middle of a California summer. Deploy glyphosate spray. Once it is established that the choice is between a temporarily brown lawn or a permanently brown lawn, water consumption will drop dramatically.

There, solved.

By the way, why can't Almonds be grown somewhere with higher natural rainfall?

3
0

EC probe into murky cross border e-commerce kicks off

Nigel 11
Silver badge

FedEx still refused to enter into any discussion about it and started threatening me when I didn't pay the invoice. As it was only about twenty pounds, I paid it, but I feel that the money was effectively extorted out of me, and I have resented FedEx for their disgusting behavior ever since.

I'd have told them to sue me and be laughed at by the judge. In fact, I might well have counter-sued, alleging barratry on their part (which sadly hasn't been a criminal offense for quite a few years). £20 is small-claims court fodder, no need for a lawyer. But they're also liable for the court fee, and for your damages (such as having to buy another copy of the book because they won't hand over the one you purchased, also the cost of the time they force you to waste).

In practice a recorded delivery letter threatening legal action if a matter is not resolved in fourteen days is usually sufficient to cause whatever "little Hitler" you are dealing with to hand the matter over to someone slightly more competent and a lot more flexible.

Anyway, reading this has probably cost them more in profits than the £20 they extorted from you.

3
0

High school students' record-setting pulsar STUMPS BOFFINS

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: How to tell?

How unlikely is unlikely?

It must be *possible* for a star to go supernova in a very symmetric implosion that doesn't break its gravitational binding to a near neighbour.

There's a similar explanation of the Fermi paradox. Somebody had to be the first intelligent life in the galaxy, and the (very limited) evidence so far supports the hypothesis that it's us.

0
0

Plod wants your PC? Brick it with a USB stick BEFORE they probe it

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Thermite

... only way to be sure?

I deduce you've never seen electronics that's been the victim of a lightning strike. High voltage and current is faster and more effective than any sensible amount of thermite. It gets at the electronics from the *inside*.

A large HV capacitor deliberately connected to the LVDC would probably be an adequate substitute for lightning,

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Wonder if there would be a market for

There's not only a market, there's a company that is actually manufacturing storage devices with built-in hardware self-destruct. It was reported here in the Register some months back. Sorry, can't remember the details. ISTR they were rather picky about who they'd sell to, and the prices were eye-watering.

Suspect I could do much the same with an SSD, a large capacitor charged to 240V, and some homebrew electronics, if I had any reason to want to do so.

0
0

Ad-blocking is LEGAL: German court says Ja to browser filters

Nigel 11
Silver badge

What they *could* do ...

A company could become its own ad server, and use something such as server-side inclusion to make the adverts pretty much indistinguishable and inseparable from its own content. So why don't they do this? Well, some of their customers might take umbrage and depart forever. But the real reason is surely that they would then have to accept full legal responsibility for the advertisements they served. They'd no longer be able to claim that the advert came from some other server run by some other company, and that any malware served was therefore not their problem.

So we get to block ads (and one channel for malware delivery and snooping). They want to have their cake and eat it, and the court has very sensibly said that they can't.

8
0

Huawei P8: Chinese mobes have arrived and the West should tremble

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: It had to happen

... slowly become service based -> (not sure what's next, but I hope I don't live to see it) -> copy cheaply. -> ..

What comes next is to go down the Tesco, Ryanair or Microsoft route (or Digital, for those over 55 that remember). Get fat and lazy. Start ignoring your customers, treat them as sheep to be fleeced and led to (financial) slaughter. Until one day, there aren't enough suckers left and huge profit turns to loss.

At that point the company is headed for extinction, unless it remains able to remodel itself. (Ryanair seems to have managed that trick. Tesco and Microsoft, the jury's still out. Digital dismembered itself and died horribly.)

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: 2680mAh battery

Oh yuk. I was going to ask if it came with stock Android, or with loads on non-removeable apps like Samsungs. But if you can't replace the battery, I'll stick with my Samsung anyway.

0
0

Flash dead end is deferred by TLC and 3D

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Is size everything?

Cost.

If they could be churned out really cheaply at some lower density, then they could be spread out over a larger form factor (such as the 5.25inch drive size) and stacked vertically as lots of circuit boards.

(Which is what happened in the early days of RAM, and going back further, ferrite core memory).

I wonder who really needs hundreds of terabytes of flash? Won't most folks be happy when a good flash cache solution is available as a front-end to lots and lots of good old spinning rust?

1
0

Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Ammonium Nitrate _is_ fertiliser. You make a better bomb if you add some kerosene. At least, so I've heard. ANFO.

AFAIK this is the only time a terrorist organisation (anyone know which one? ) contributed something useful to the body of knowledge used by civilisation.

Mining used to employ high explosive (Dynamite, TNT, etc.) which is expensive and non-trivial to store and in some cases toxic to handle. Open-cast mining has now adopted ANFO - cheaper, non-toxic, and manufactured down the hole where you want the explosion. Nitrate fertilizer first, then add fuel oil, then top with a detonator.

BTW Ammonium Nitrate is also an explosive on its own. You do have to hit it very hard before it goes bang, but if you manage to do so, watch out. One of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever was in the Netherlands when the roof of a warehouse full of Ammonium Nitrate leaked, and the entire contents set solid. Someone had the bad idea of loosening it up with a few sticks of dynamite. He did not survive the several-kiloton non-nuclear explosion which resulted.

4
0

Don't listen to me, I don't know what I'm talking about – a pundit speaks

Nigel 11
Silver badge

But the floppy disk is quite definitely on its last legs.

0
0

Snakes on a backplane: Server-room cabling horrors

Nigel 11
Silver badge

It's not just datacomms ...

There's a long series of "crazy cabling" pictures over at DarkRoasted Blend

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/03/disturbing-wiring-part-3.html

(parts 1-2 and 4-7 equally worth a look, all linked).

Datacomms, POTS, mains wiring, plumbing. chemicals plants ... entropy wins every time.

1
0

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Music?

I have yet to experience DAB+ so I don't know whether it will provide an incentive for me to buy a new radio or not. The one I have is always set to FM, except when I use DAB to get BBC World Service. My current plan is that if they ever phase out FM I'll completely abandon listening to music on radio.

Why? Music (classical / acoustic music) on DAB is transformed into ghastly noise, even on a low-fi portable "transistor" radio in a bathroom. It astounds me that so many people cannot hear the difference. Yes, I get occasional interference on analog, but it's transient.

4
1

This one weird trick deletes any YouTube flick in just a few clicks

Nigel 11
Silver badge

F*king cat videos

But seriously, what else would a techie use to test that he's got the video and audio drivers right on a new install of someone else's device? AFAIK kittens are a safe choice.

1
1

Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Plus.

Mine's the one with some 'Bayko' building blocks in the pocket.

Yes, I remember Bayko. A product that had the reverse influence on young architects, to that of Meccano on young engineers. They grew up, and started building with factory-manufactured brick- and tile-patterned panels, held together with steel bars, instead of real bricks and tiles. And within a few decades we are tearing down these horrid mouldering and disintegrating constructions, built of materials with no track record and as we now know, no staying power.

Please, somebody tell me that the Commies invented Bayko, in a half-successful attempt to cause the home of capitalism to sabotage its own future. I suspect it was an own goal, though.

PS anyone remember Architex? Same comments apply, with respect to system-built tower blocks.

1
0

Why Feed.Me.Pizza will never exist: Inside the world of government vetoes and the internet

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Yawn

Are there really people out there who remember and laboriously type in domain names? If it's not in my browser history I use Google - it understands my spelling mistakes e.g. Jonlewis, as well as knowing whether it's .com or .co.uk or anything else.

I guess there are browsers out there that don't have a Google box or which default to some inferior search engine in the one and only URL box ... a good reason to download Firefox if you have one of those!

0
3

Helium-filled drive tech floats to top of HGST heap

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Yeah helium, great

So maybe a few hundred drives' worth per wedding rather than a few thousand. Same point.

1
0

HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Devonian?

The Chicxulub impactor was particularly devastating because of where it struck, on thick strata of both carbonate rocks and gypsum (calcium sulphate). Vaporised, these injected vast amounts of sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The sulphur dioxide would have formed sulphuric acid clouds that would have reflected much sunlight, causing far worse global cooling than mere dust from silicate rocks. Over the next decade it came back down as acid rain. And then after a brief spike of global cooling, the sulphur was gone leaving the carbon dioxide to caues global warming. This massive two-way fluctuation was probably the last straw for lumbering great dinosaurs. (The small flying ones did survive - we now call them birds).

This on top of a global environment already seriously degraded by the Deccan Traps erruptions.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Devonian? @ ~Spartacus

Fossil remains of civilisation: the ones that you will find intact in vast quantities after tens of millions of years are fired clay artefacts. House-bricks and pottery, complete with maker's marks and glazed decorations.

Many other things will fossilize like shells: the original will disappear but the hole in the rock will fill with some other mineral (often quartz, calcite or iron pyrites). This will include some truly vast fossils: sewage pipes and railway tunnels!

Gold and silver jewellery will survive but whethre any will be found is quite anothr matter. There's not enough of it.

1
1

Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: This is a lovely story

Overdue, I see so many hooky £1 coins and just pass 'em along as people losing faith in the currency is a bigger problem ...

I suspect that even if every single £1 coin was a fake, the damage would be negligible compared to HMG's efforts, generally referred to as "QE". And yet, faith is not being destroyed!

(Total value of coin in circulation in the UK: a mere 4 billion quid or thereabouts. Excluding the fakes, of course. )

4
2
Nigel 11
Silver badge

It would be a lot easier to create the fake ones if they didn't keep changing the design. I expect this new design is a lot more difficult to counterfeit.

Yes. You need much more specialized equipment to produce bimetallic coins that stay in one piece (even the royal mint had trouble with early production £2 coins). 12-sided is also harder than round. Also assuming the density of the inside and outside metals are different, then it'll be very easy for coin-accepting machines to reject fakes made of any single metal.

OT, but you never see many £2 coins these days.

I suspect people tend to hang on to them, because they are rather pretty and there's a new design out almost every year. I recently got a bunch of brand new ones out of a Sainsbury self-service till when I gave it a £20 note as payment.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Homage to the old 'Thrupenny Bit'...

Not sure of the rhyming slang for the new coin. . .

Not rhyming, but it'll remain a "Thatcher" to me. (Thick, Brassy, Rough round the edges, and trying to be a Sovereign ...)

11
1

Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

Nigel 11
Silver badge

It's far worse than a zombie.

I await the day when SCO makes an appearance in one of harlse Stross's "Laundry" books, revealed as an agent of a Cthuluesque entity intent on world domination.

Oh wait ....

2
0

The storage is alive? Flash lives longer than expected – report

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Spinning rust.

That flash RAM fails after sufficient write activity is fundamental to the physics of how it operates. In contrast a magnetic film does not wear out, however many times it is written to, merely as a consequence of being written.

On the other hand, the moving parts in a hard disk do wear out, usually in a slowly progressive manner. Also any contamination inside the HDA can cause gradual degradation of the read head and magnetic surfaces (and sometimes much less gradual degradation - catastrophic failure known as a head crash, akin to an aeroplane flying into a mountain instead of grains of wind-blown sand)

Anyway, my experience is that quite a few hard disks "never" fail (ie, they are declared obsolete and junked while still working perfectly after five or ten years in service). Many fail gracefully: you get warning that they are deteriorating through their SMART statistics, and you can hot-replace them proactively if you are using mirroring or RAID or just shut down and clone to a new disk with ddrescue. A good fraction of the rest are rescue-able even after failing hard as far as an operating system is concerned, i.e. you can use ddrescue to copy them to a new hard drive with no loss of data after many re-tries, or with only a few sectors unreadable. Only a smallish percentage go from disk to brick "just like that", and a majority of those inside their first month in service ("infant mortality").

The controller of a flash drive must surely know how many pages have failed and been replaced from the pool of spares. So what's going on? Are SSD controllers not being honest with their SMART statistics (for example with SMART 182, " Erase Fail count")? Or did the testers simply write until failed, without monitoring the statistics to see whether impending failure was easy to spot? Or are there whole-chip failure modes with flash storage, that make abrupt failure far more likely than with other VLSI chips such as hard disk controllers? (Well, there are 8 or 16 more VLSI chips in an SSD, so maybe 8 to 16 times the risk).

More research needed.

10
0

Aged 18-24? Don't care about voting? Got a phone? Oh dear...

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: @Ac

Weren't you one of those students once?

“If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.” (Often erroneously attributed to Winston Churchill)

We have an ageing population, which can't be good for the socialists.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: They already thought about that (Why bother?)

And made it *illegal* to have a party called "None of the Above".

I immediately thought of a lady in a black and white costume standing as "Nun of the above", which ought to be legal ....

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Why bother?

I cannot understand why any importance should be attached to votes cajoled out of people who couldn't give a damn. Surely by not voting, you declare that you'll be equally (un)happy with whomsoever is returned by the folks who *can* be bothered to vote? (Folks who, hopefully, will have bothered to inform themselves about the policies supported by the various candidates, and given who they vote for more than one second's consideration).

I'd also much rather that postal votes were once again restricted to those who declare that they will be outside the constituency on polling day, or who can reasonably be excused from walking to a polling station on medical grounds. Postal votes are otherwise far too easy to obtain and use fraudulently.

I'd even support introducing the purple-thumb technology used in "less developed" countries to prevent repeat voting using forged or stolen credentials.

11
2

CERN turns to Seagate’s Kinetic system and says ‘it’s storage time’

Nigel 11
Silver badge

The hard stuff is elsewhere and not device-dependant

How hard can it be to write a block device driver that talks to a disk device by Ethernet address and Seagate protocol instead of iSCSI? Once that is done, you "just" build your filesystem on top of a bunch or megabunch of them. Someone else shows up with a different protocol, write another block device driver for it.

"Just" because pushing the scale of your (presumably distributed, massively multi-master) filesystem past anything that's been done before is likely to show up some latent issues in the filesystem. However, that will apply equally whether your block devices are these things, old-school iSCSI devices, or (say) huge boards covered with Memristor-tech.

1
0

Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: I want to learn Linux but ...

Off-topic ... but there are dozens. Most are described as "Live CDs or Live DVDs" and will boot off a CD or DVD, but with most it's described how to copy or install into a memory stick instead.

Fedora has a liveusb-creator app that you can run on Windoze to create a bootable Fedora Workstation USB stick.

Linux booted off a CD or DVD is surprisingly usable. An application may be slow to start the first time (while the DVD drive spins up and seeks slowly) but will usually then stay cached in RAM for repeated use.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Hardware, not software ...

If the hardware doesn't work perfectly, there's (usually) nothing that the operating system can do about it, other than (sometimes) detecting the problem and refusing to boot further with a hopefully informative message.

I hope that the test for this problem is added to memtest86 and similar RAM testers in the near future.

Then it gets interesting. I'm assuming this is a RAM module fault, not a generic motherboard / chipset fault. If so, I wonder whether it will show that some? all? notebook manufacturers are shipping the cheapest crappiest DRAM that they can lay their hands on, along with the preinstalled malware? Now, how they will handle the hopefully large number of people who will run a memory diagnostic and return their faulty systems to be repaired?

Alternatively, will it show that all makes of DRAM are equally crap, because the industry has been pushing the performance envelope too far and fast without properly testing the worst edge and corner cases? (Crucial/Micron, Samsung, here's hoping you will gain the right sort of publicity out of this).

The world really does need ECC to be available for professional grade notebook and desktop systems. Intel, by all means charge a few dollars more for ECC-supporting chipsets, but it was really stupid to decide that nobody using a notebook or desktop system needed ECC.

6
0

Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Cost / Benefit (cons / pros)

Killer cost omitted. It requires that you support the weight of the thing out in front of you while you use it. To say nothing of the weight of both your arms. Ergonomic FAIL. (BTW, it's probably illegal for a business to ask its staff to use such a device, under the EU VDU regulations).

If you doubt me on this, try holding an ordinary keyboard in the illustrated pose for a few minutes, and then consider what several more hours would be like.

2
0

OK, they're not ROBOT BUTLERS, but Internet of Home 'Things' are getting smarter

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Dangers of "Smart" Meters and Appliances

All radiation is damaging to biological cells

Troll?

The sun emits vast amounts of radiation, and not all of it is harmess. But if it went away, how long to you think we'd last? No sunlight (radiation) = no life.

As for traces of RF and Microwaves ... I'd suggest you quit using any equipment that allows you to post messages on the internet, and retire to "enjoy" a 15th century crofter's lifestyle in the Outer Hebrides. Or is ISIL more your style?

2
0

Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: 'ow do you do that, then?

I suspect that you can perform a full write of 1Tb internally by sending a lot less than 1Tb of data to the SSD down the bus. These things are internally structured into pages much larger than a classical disk drive sector. Writing (say) one sector out of twenty at random probably forces at least one full write of the solid-state storage medium.

It's similar to doing small writes to a shingled HDD, but without the speed penalty.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Probably enterprise gear pricing

But the cost of SSD continues to go down and the density up. At some point spinning rust will die.

Beware of extrapolating. Maybe you are right, but you are assuming it will be possible either to get several terabytes onto just a few chips, like at present they can get a quarter-terabyte onto just a few chips. Since they're already close to the physical limit of how small a flash memory cell can be made, and also close to the limit of how closely such cells can be packed on a chip, you have to go to a new technology. 3D Flash may be the answer, but does it scale? from a few tens of layers (as currently shipping) up to many hundreds of layers (which would be what's needed to reach 6Tb from 250Gb at constant price -- and that's making the optimistic assumption, that more 3D layers increases production cost at a much slower rate than linear.

Meanwhile, I suspect that 5Tb disk drives will continue to fall in price until they reach the same price point that every other size of disk drive previously shipped have reached. That's about £30 for desktop-grade and about £70 for server-grade. The higher prices on larger drives are manufacturers recouping their R&D costs while the market will support a premium price.

Meanwhile, when HAMR goes into production, "spinning rust" will scale to tens of Tb per drive. Spinning rust is nowhere near its physical density limit in the radial direction, it's just that you can't radially address it for writing with a purely magnetic head.

0
0

Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: argh!

Surely the analogy is to software: a one-off kluge, versus properly re-usable code. This is properly re-usable hardware.

As we all know, the one-off kluge has its place, if it's really one-off, and if the cost of writing it to be general and re-usable is significant extra programming hours. Here. the cost of doing the hardware right is, er, about £40. An absolute steal, I'd say. Provided it works (see review).

It may also save you (say) £30 every time you accidentally fry a tiny little interface card costing £3 rather than a whole RPi costing £33. Kids (even more so than adults) learn by making mistakes, you'd best be able to afford them doing so.

1
0

Mozilla mulls Superfish torpedo

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Ban 'em

So ... it's an Israeli company that has wilfully compromised the cyber-security of the state of Israel? (and also its most powerful ally, to say nothing of the rest of the world). Do they jail such people, or do they just shoot them?

4
0

Samsung in second SSD slowdown SNAFU

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Can we just lose FLASH already?

More to the point, why can't we be offered an 80Gb SLC drive for the price of a 240Gb TLC (consumer grade) drive? Because for many applications, speed and durability are needed, and another 160Gb is not.

I wonder if Memristor tech will be equally frought during its first few iterations?

2
0

Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Am I the only one…

Or Comedia (Comedy, Farce)

Or Komodo (Dragon, big lizard with lethally septic teeth, that bites you and then waits for you to rot to death).

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Total destruction of security

You are not being paranoid enough.

Add, anyone using technology licensed from Komodia, openly or covertly.

Add, anyone using the same technique, without having licensed it from Komodia, and without having disclosed what they are actually up to.

The real lesson is that SSL is really, truly, deeply flawed, and that it's a case of "broken by design" rather than "broken by accident".

1
3

May the fourth be with you: Torvalds names next Linux v 4.0

Nigel 11
Silver badge

The thing is, a version number should mean something. It should give the user an inkling of what they'll be getting. Personally, I'm a bit fan of x.y.z (foo) where x is a major revision or rewrite, y is a minor revision, z is a bug fix and foo is the build number. I don't care how big the numbers get. I'm a big boy. I can count quite high.

Thing is, who decides what is major? This scheme way work for an application, but for a kernel? One for which much of the code is optional, and may not even be compiled-in (or even compile-able) on the system you are using?

Take btrfs becoming production-ready. That's pretty major, if you want to use some of the advanced features like near-infinite snapshots or de-duping. On the other hand if you are doing quantum chemistry on some massively parallel network of wafer-scale integrated CPUs, btrfs might be of little interest. Something obscure to do with locking in massively parallel environments, on the other hand ....

6
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Pity ...

Personally, I'd have reserved 4.0 for "world domination", or at least for the day that Microsoft abandons its own NT-derived kernel and goes over to an open-source kernel derived from Linux.

Still, it's just a number.

1
4

Facebook security chap finds 10 Superfish sub-species

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Level the playing field

Better ideas would be for Microsoft to make it a condition of sale to OEMs, to make it a a breach of T&Cs to preinstall any software that changes the root certificates which Microsoft distributes. Or even better, to make it a breach of T&Cs to preinstall any software at all, other than that explicitly requested by the purchaser. Or to insist that every system comes with a DVD that will reinstall to a Microsoft-only configuration, so every user can do what well-informed corporates routinely do: nuke and reinstall from trusted media on receipt.

Failing which, governments should legislate against preinstalled software that makes privileged changes to an operating system or which are otherwise non-trivial to perfectly un-install.

Wonder if there's any chance of a class action against Microsoft, for not taking any steps to pre-emptively avoid this disaster?

Yes, the "Windows tax" rankles with me too, but a heck of a lot less than the implications of this particular bit of brain-dead slimeware.

7
2

Man the HARPOONS: YOU can EASILY SLAY ad-scumware Superfish

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Superfish, founded in 2006, is a small company based in Palo Alto, California

Of course, the folks at Superfish will likely just get a wrist slap for this while individual white hat hackers often get jail time

On the other hand, they still have the death penalty for corporations, even for quite small infringements. One can reasonably hope that pretty soon, once the class actions get started, the first quote above will have to be modified to read

... was a small company based in Palo Alto, California

The other intrusive thought I keep having, is did any part of the Cthuluesque entity that is the US government have anything to do with this, and if so, why?

1
0

FOCUS! 7680 x 4320 notebook and fondleslab screens are coming

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: One born every minute

There are people who will buy them because they can, and then insist that they can see/hear the difference.

You'll see the difference. On a 1024 display of an image containing a very small feature sized one quarter of a pixel squared, that feature will at best cause the single pixel containing it to be one sixteenth brighter or darker ... which you won't (can't) notice. The human eye is far more responsive to sharp step changes in brightness (edges) than it is to slight variation.

On a 4k screen it'll be a bright or dark or different-colour "spark" pixel which you can notice.

If it's not obvious what the pixel represents (there will be a line of them for a line feature), you'll zoom in on your model to see it better. But if you can't see it at all, you won't know there's any reason to zoom.

If you went through part of your childhood with slight uncorrected short sight, you'll remember the sudden impact of reality when you put on your first pair of glasses. Leaves! Raindrops! Stars! A really high-resolution screen displaying really high-resolution imagery will be similar.

It's the sort of thing architects in particular will love.

4
2

ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

It's a complete unknown what happens when life-forms with different operating systems come into contact. All known life is based on DNA or RNA with 3-base codons, a small common set of useful amino-acids, and there is a large amount of other commonality in biochemical operation across most of our life.

So when we meet ET with mutual good intentions, our bacteria and theirs will decide the issue. Possibilities from optimistic to pessimistic are (1) our bacteria can't eat them and vice versa, (2) our bacteria eat ETs but theirs can't eat us, (3) vice versa, and (4) mutual complete destruction. (There's also (5): our sort of life is near-universal, because its evolution is heavily favoured by the laws of physics and chemistry over any other possibility).

I suspect the worst case is most likely. There are bacteria that can eat just about anything that is capable of yielding energy when it is dismantled, and our defences against being eaten are highly specific to the "operating system" that all Terran life shares.

6
0

$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: HiFi Power cords

Actually switch-mode PSUs run a lot faster than 20kHz these days. The main reason is that the higher the frequency, the more power can be transferred through a smaller mass of (ferrite) transformer core, and then smoothed back to DC using smaller capacitors.The upper limit is approximately where the extra power lost in the power transistors while they are changing state starts to exceed any economic benefit of making the power supply less massive.

A long time ago I repaired what must have been pretty much the first ever switched-mode power supply (a 20A bench power supply using OC42 - Germanium! - power transistors ) It switched, very audibly, at a few hundred Hz.

Incidentally, the output of a typical switched mode power supply is very poor for analogue audio use. Digital circuitry such as a computer doesn't care about tens of millivolts of ripple on its power, and just because the oscillator runs at a MHz doesn't mean it can't be (and is) modulated at lower frequencies by (for example) AC line noise.

0
0

Forums