Better still to infect IS sites with some sort of subtle, er, meta-malware, which in turn infects the computers which visit the IS sites in ways that will be helpful to law enforcement and intelligence operations. Especially if Anonymous can do it only because they are operating outside the law. (Although I'd hope that our intelligence agencies have been given license to go "deep grey" when it comes to dealing with these barbarians).
3187 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
No more turning over a USB thing, then turning it over again to plug it in: Reversible socket ready for lift off
Re: Proof that there is a god
Due to a macroscopic quantum effect even more astonishing that superconducting ceramics, USB plugs, like single electrons, are Fermionic in nature. You have to rotate them not 360 degrees but 720 degrees, to get them back into the state you started from . Failure rate 3 in four sound about right?
Could Hubble see ...?
Could Hubble see if there's a single Sol-like star on which this galaxy has lost its gravitational grip, headed out into the void all on its own?
(I'm thinking of Iain M Banks's "Against a Dark Background" )
just as ALL the previous "breakthroughs" have amounted to....[sod all].
Apart from every successful battery technology now in production, you mean.
First, there's a breakthrough in electrochemistry. Then there's a huge load of R&D aiming at commercializing it. Then either (a) they've tried everything they can think of, and give up, or (b) a new battery technology arrives. Like NiMH. Or the sort of NiMH that holds its charge for over a year. Or Lithium batteries. Or rechargeable lithium batteries - we're now on the Nth generation, not sure what is N.
Pharmaceuticals have an even higher failure rate.
Re: Boom AND Bust
Nothing could possibly go wrong there, could it?
I'm sure they said the same thing about letting members of the general public muck around with gallons of gasoline.
And have you every seen what happens if you short out a lead-acid battery with a spanner?
Lots more R&D needed but not a can't-be-done attitude.
Re: Oxygen makes things burn brightly
Apollo 1 had a high pressure pure oxygen atmosphere - not quite comparable...
True, but merely oxygen-enriched atmospheres are serious fire hazards. ISTR that above 29% O2, burning wood becomes difficult (impossible?) to extinguish with water.
OTOH venting O2 from battery charging to the open air would be harmless, and it can't be hard to build an O2 sensor which would let the car monitor the atmosphere around it while it is charging, and shut down the charging if some eejit has forgotten to connect the vent pipe to the car in his garage.
Gasoline isn't totally safe, either.
There's a difference (gravity!) between upwards range and horizontal range. I don't think clay pigeons are ever 50 yards vertical. I don't shoot but watching, they seem to be aiming upwards at something like 30 degrees.
Oh. no I wouldn't because we're generally not allowed access to firearms in the u.k.
Not so very hard to get a shotgun license, though I'd much rather you didn't. Using it to down a drone might result in losing that license ... legally uncharted territory, so far.
Anyone thinking defence drone? A cheap "toy" drone towing a piece of nylon netting ought to be very capable of bringing down an intruder.
Or a fire-hose?
Re: Bullit County
All in all congratulations to the judge. For once USA law is not an ass.
A drone is a piece of equipment, not a person. The only issue at stake in its destruction is property rights. It's far less of a moral issue than shooting at a person, even at a person clearly threatening violence. The maximum penalty should be the replacement cost of the drone paid to its owner, plus administrative costs to the law. (And in my book the drone owner ought to be on the hook for those administrative costs if his complaint is not upheld).
It's right that the law considers whether discharging a shotgun (upwards) in a built-up area presented any significant threat to the population at large. I'm no expert but I think not. Shotgun pellets won't be dangerous when they fall back to earth (unlike much heavier bullets, especially ones discharged only slightly upwards from the horizontal). So, no public safety issue.
So what needs to be decided is the relative rights of a landowner over whose territory a drone is hovering, and rights of the owner of that drone. I think they've got this right. A drone hovering at low altitude over my land is invading my privacy, and there's no practical way to remove it that's nondestructive. So blasting it ought to be allowed. (Incidentally what's the upwards range of a shotgun? )
At a later date maybe there will need to be a statutory definition of hovering versus flying across, and an altitude below which a non-hovering drone is not allowed to cross private property without consent. But even after that's in place and someone blasts a "legal" drone, I'll go back to my original point. It's a piece of equipment. Maximum penalty = reasonable replacement cost. Damage to its owner's ego - tough!
Re: Goodbye Cloud
The end result maybe mass fragmentation of online services as it may become impossible to offer an online service across national boundaries. This would clearly be totally fucking ridiculous.
Why, and why?
It may become impossible to store personal data submitted in one country, on computer systems in another. Except for very small countries like Monaco, why is this a problem? At worst it would result in the creation of a quantity of one-nation cloud providers "cloud.uk" "cloud.de" etc. to replace Amazon, Microsoft etc. If this is the result, it will be a consequence of the US government's overrreach, in making it impossible for any US corporation to operate an EU subsidiary (f.ex Microsoft Ireland) under EU (Irish) law. Bullet, meet foot.
This won't mean that you can't operate a business across international boundaries. Just that if you want to store your customers personal data for longer than is necessary to satisfy their request, or if you wish to acquire more data than is strictly necessary to satisfy their request, you will need to make sure it's stored in their country, not in some jurisdiction which allows for the leaking -- or theft -- of their data without their consent and without the sanction of their own nation's laws. If you don't have the scale to justify multiple datacentres of your own, there will be national clouds for you to use.
Do any readers have enough knowledge of Switzerland to tell us how it works there? Switzerland seems to be the developed economy country that values data privacy and security most highly.
How do you all make your vacuum cleaners break down?
I'm amazed at the number of people whose vacuum cleaners break down.
Mine was made in nineteen-eighty-something by AEG. Still going strong. It's survived being dropped down stairs on at least one occasion.
Who says it's hard to make an electric motor that will run for 3000 hours?
Please note *nix != Posix. If you are running a filesystem that doesn't support Posix ACLS then that filesystem is not Posix compliant. Depending on how you define "system", it may mean that your "system" is also not compliant.
You're also inaccurate about NFS V3. Although posix ACLs are not part of the NFS V3 specification, they can be supported by additional RPCs (which have been a standard part of Red Hat flavours of Linux for many years).
http://wiki.linux-nfs.org/wiki/index.php/ACLs (which also suggests that even some NFS V2 implementations have ACLs; can't vouch for that, never used NFS V2)
As for ACLs on config settings, that's rather necessary if you're supposed to store all your config settings for unpteen different applications into one and only one entity called "The Registry". In the Linux world it would be called a folder heirarchy or a filesystem, with ACLs ... again, argue that the Windows way is better if you wish, but that's not the same as claiming that it can't be done at all under Posix.
(which is a Hell of a lot more powerful and manageable than the default UNIX -rwx/rwx/rwx approach)
Get a clue.
Posix means Posix ACLs which give fine-grained access control not unlike Windows ACLs. You can argue that Windows ACLs are better if you wish, but displaying your ignorance of Posix is not a good start.
Basically the entire plant will be a bug.
Spying on what, precisely? The routine operation of a power plant, every last detail of which is already known to the folks who built it?
I'd be a smidgeon more concerned that it might be possible to command it from outside. However, surely it will be possible to operate the plant even if its internet connection is taken down? (Ideally, there should be an air-gap between a nuke plant's control systems and the internet at all times, not just when the risk of attack is believed to be high).
And surely they still use simple analog fail-safe systems, since any digital system is prone to glitching? If any key safety parameter goes too far beyond normal safe operating levels a relay de-energises and a cascade of such failsafe switching-off cuts power to the electromagnets from which the control rods are suspended, leading to a reactor shut-down rather than melt-down. (If this is not the case, the design needs to be amended pronto! )
Actually, VW and other car manufacturers' advertising is truthful. They explicitly warn you that the fuel usage figures you obtain on the road will differ from the published ones from lab tests. And I doubt whether any car manufacturer has ever specified anything about emissions in any documentation aimed at an end user.
What VW did was utterly stupid, because it was bound to be discovered, and it's trashed their once-valuable reputation. Other makes of car are now being tested in detail. We'll soon know whether they've all been cheating, or not. I expect not.
Most of the people who see car adverts aren't in the market for a car right now, but if they might ever buy a car ever in the future, then that ad isn't a waste.
Straying slightly off topic, this is why VW's defeat device was such an incredibly stupid idea. "It takes years to build a reputation, and seconds to destroy one". VW can't even start to try to rebuild its reputation until its legal woes finally drop out of the newspapers. Does VW have that long?
Which is why I actually believe its top brass. It must have been a rogue techie doing for engineering, what rogue traders have done for banking on several occasions.
And I still haven't forgiven Sony.
It's so stupid I doubt it's a human action. I suspect that Amazon is yet another organisation that can't invent artificial intelligence and has convinced itself that artificial stupidity is an adequate substitute.
Re: There is software that blocks ads???!!!
If only there were some way to reach out and tell people that a product like this exists...
Try advertizing. (The old-fashioned way, in a newspaper or magazine, where all ads are "good" ads due to the natural limitations of the medium).
Is this irony? Not sure.
Re: Surely ...
Maybe take Google's annual sales and divide by the population of the West? Ho hum ... hit quote.yahoo.com ...
Google market cap $448 Bn, price/sales ratio 6.37, so sales about $70 Bn. Population of the Western world must be about a billion. So $70 p.a.? Doesn't feel expensive. A dozen pints or four domain names or three months' broadband connection.
What do we reckon for a Bing subscription?!
Re: New TV
Freeview. Thanks for the warning about the Samsung native EPG (assuming it's not just your one model). One particular Samsung is top of the list at present, along with Panasonic and LG. Yes, was intending to try out the remotes in a shop before taking mum shopping (if she wants to go shopping at all). Userguides might tell me enough, though.
Re: Surely ...
The Ad blocking would really hurt folk like Google
Really? How do you find a product when you want to buy one? I'm pretty sure that if scattergun intrusive malware-vectoring browser-crashing web-advertizing dies out, it will benefit Google, not hurt them.
I think that's semantics. If provision of information about a product is not advertising, what is it?
Case in point. My mum's ancient TV has expired. I'll be buying a new one for her and installing it next week-end. I spent last night searching for information on the sort of TVs that my mum wants, and now have a list of three likely-looking models.
Tonight I'll be downloading the userguides. (Mum is ninety-plus and is confused by digital TV, let alone anything "smart".) If the spec sheet was crap you've already lost the sale. If the userguide is crap, you will do.
No need to disable my ad-blocker. I got the impression Google had worked out what I was looking for and was returning helpfully biassed search results, but maybe I'm crediting it with too much AI and I'm just good at Googling.
Re: Being strong is not enough
And where are sales of tablets going?
Everyone who needs a PC has a PC. Need is mostly business desktops and people doing serious work at home.
Everyone who needs a tablet has a tablet. Fewer people than the hypesters once imagined. Mostly home users. A tablet is a data-consumption device not a data-creation device.
The biggest growth market has been the smartphone, but soon everyone who needs one will have one, and it's only Apple who can get away with charging twice as much for a phone designed to last half as long. (OK I exaggerate).
In short, we're in transition from a first-purchase and obsolescence-driven market, to a mature, replacement-driven market. Which is why the big news will be in servers and nonvolatile RAM.
Re: Being strong is not enough
Intel has extremely good process technology. Also if you need to run any legacy software on a server, then an ARM server isn't going to be the answer.
I expect Intel will be king of the server room for a lot more than two years. Also, that should the ARM architecture start making serious inroads, then it'll be Intel fabbing the best of them.
Meanwhile, Intel is one of the major players in the developing nonvolatile-RAM space.
Tough trading, maybe, but it doesn't look anything like a failing company to me.
Of course bad guys obey the law ....
The FCC is suffering from the usual legislators' blindness. There's a problem with bad people doing something they shouldn't, because it's not illegal. Make it illegal, and they'll stop. NOT!
GET A CLUE!
All you'll do is stop everyone else from being able to move the world forwards by playful experimentation and small business formation. Which hands the bad guys a perpetual monopoly on whatever illegality you created, because the technology will cease to evolve. Eventually, it's your state that will collapse under the weight of its own mal-regulation and competition from less-regulated jurisdictions.
The history of China is a superb example. They almost had a global empire and an industrial revolution. In the 15th century. Then the Emperor felt insecure, burned all the ocean-going ships and banned their construction, banned just about everything less than two centuries old.
It took the West about 400 years to catch up and then overtake the now stagnant China.
I thought we already had satellite broadband deployed and working. It's expensive but if you live in the middle of nowhere, it's probably the only option. The latency (to geosynchronous orbit and back) is a right royal pain.
So this is actually a test of of linking low-earth-orbit satellites into a grid or mesh using free-space lasers. If they can't link them up, LEO is fairly useless because your satellite broadband would keep dropping out every time a satellite went out of view. (Not sure why linking them up using microwaves, same as ground-to-satellite links, is ruled out).
Re: Cloud CRM providers
"You can't absolve someone of legal liability."
IANAL but I think you can in civil law. Specifically, if (a) the law is untested or unclear and (b) the punishment is a fine of limited size.
I've just bought a house. My lawyer insisted on indemnity insurance concerning the loft conversion, because no record of the planning permission could be found. So in the unlikely event that the council (a) notices, (b) cares, (c) proves that planning permission was actually necessary and (d) declines to provide it retrospectively, there's an insurance company on the hook. (The building consents issued by the same council were fine, but apparently a council can issue building consents and then insist that you knock a house down because it didn't have planning permission. Boggle! )
Re: Who cares?
whose law do they think they'll have a better chance of changing? The EU's or the Americans?
Old philosophy question: what happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object? In the domain of mutually incompatible laws, we may be about to find out.
Forget the EU - how are US companies going to operate China / India / Brazil, once the implications of this little USA-EU kerfuffle get noticed?
It makes very little difference where a domain is purchased from or where its top-level domain servers are located. All DNS does, is resolve a name into an IP address and vice versa. OK, you do have to trust that if you tell Google to resolve wan.gle to 184.108.40.206, it actually does that, rather than resolve to some other address running an imitation service or "wrapping" yours. But there's no mechanism to hide any incorrect resolving, so that's unlikely. There's far more mileage in subverted Cisco (and other) switches.
Once the name is resolved to an IP address, the server with that address can be anywhere on the internet: the US, the EU, Russia, Tuvalu, Antarctica .... and the NSA will probably know how to get into it wherever it might be!
Agent Smith, I'd like to introduce you to a Lemming.
On the other hand ....
Bacteria and viruses ... Usually such lethal forms are self-limiting
But not always. Most recently, the 1918 Flu. And we got incredibly lucky with SARS. It's infectivity was just slightly too low to grow exponentially, once we realized the danger and changed our behaviour. Just slightly more infectious, and face-masks and gloves would have made no difference.
Re: Fukushima photos
So thankfully we have not seen a REAL nuclear disaster on par with other nuclear disasters we have created so far. That does not mean it is impossible. It can happen and it can easily dwarf either Chernobil or Fukushima.
Please expound on that scenario.
Chernobyl was surely as bad as it could get. A reactor reactor core that had suffered an explosive criticality excursion, without containment, on fire, open to the elements. The only way I than think of to make it any worse would be to nuke it ... but if you have a nuke, there are worse things still that you can do with it.
As has been observed, VW's actions with cheating diesel emissions tests has probably caused more fatalities than Chernobyl. Certainly more than Fukushima.
So whose going to pick up hikers?
I think you mean, who'd going to stop the hikers and illegals from jumping on board?
He's there to fill the tank and drive between the depot and the motorway slip road. Then from the slip road to the destination...
And if/when unsupervised robo-trucks on M-ways become legal, this is rather useful. Presumably if the truck is driving itself, the driver will be resting as far as tachygraph regulations are concerned. Which in turn means that a motorway snarl-up doesn't mean the driver running out of legal driving hours, and the cargo might arrive just an hour or two late rather than a day late.
Might also mean that a driver could pull in to a service station equipped for robo-trucks, send the truck on its way, cross the M-way on a pedestrian bridge, and wait for another truck that's driving itself the other way. So drivers wouldn't have to spend nearly so many nights away from home.
Re: Tried Porting to a Cray Once
These days you can have your own desktop "supercomputer" that works just like a Cray once did: a big GPGPU board in a PC. If you understand your GPGPU and use codes that vectorize and parallelize well, it'll be hundreds of times faster than if you don't.
Re: It's a shame
It's become far too easy to mass-produce complexity these days. Also, almost nobody writes in assembly language. That said, the ARM instruction set is quite elegant, and any RISC architecture (just about anything today except x86) owes a lot to Cray who designed the first one.
Re: Because things are so great right now
Actually maybe there is something that's never been tried. A rational form of libertarianism. Government, not anarchy, but as little of it as possible consistent with not arriving at anarchy.
Very hard to see how you could get there let alone maintain "as little as possible". Those who have power, don't want to give it up, and sooner or later want more of it. Democracy lets you boot them out when they become corrupt, but whoever you replace them with install themselves in all the old niches and continue expanding them.
Re: Because things are so great right now
more of the same or something new?
Please spell it out. Is there really some new form of government that hasn't already been tried? (With results ranging from poor to absolutely hellishly terrible)
"Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others".
If the governments do what they should they will protect consumers - that's car buyers in this case - from the effects of this mess. But they'll probably protect the industry first.
Politics is the art of the possible.
It's not possible to fix all those cars instantly. If this is an industry-wide problem and not a VW one, any proper fix will take a ten-year view (average life of a car is about ten years).
It's not sensible to drive the EU car industry into bankrupcy, and end up having to import all cars from countries which care less about air quality than we do. To that extent, the motor manufacturers may get off lightly.
OTOH a good start would be to tax petrol and diesel by the Megajoule, not by the litre. Diesel contains more energy per litre: it's somewhat cheaper than it should be (not hugely so). So cut the tax on petrol. (BTW no self-interest - I drive a diesel).
And once the facts are known, change the VED regime to reflect typical on-the-road emissions of all pollutants, not just CO2 emission in a very flawed lab test. Better, scrap annual VED. Put a one-off charge on new cars to reflect their likely lifetime emissions, and add enough tax on petrol and diesel to ensure government tax-take is unaffected. That'll put more pressure on drivers to minimize fuel consumption, both in new car choice and all car usage, and emissions will look after themselves if they're largely proportional to fuel consumption.
In ten years time we'll be where we should have been today, with the cars on the road reflecting the best achievable pollution levels. This is a scandal that may yet become a much larger one, but it is not a catastrophe.
Re: In the long run spinning off the VW brand is not a good idea
If you really want to address diesel pollution you'll have to tackle HGV traffic, and I wish you luck there.
Unless the HGV engines are cheating as badly as the car engines, I doubt it. The problem with HGVs is that they last longer than cars. There are some horribly old soot-belchers still on the roads. Banning them from city centres may accelerate their replacement.
On the technical front, I think it's easier to clean up a larger engine. Less exhaust in contact with metal surfaces. Also HGVs aren't judged on their 0-60 acceleration.
Finally there's no alternative. Something has to burn the diesel fraction of the raw petroleum, and we can't do without trucks.
The general rule here in the UK is that a vehicle is tested against the criteria which applied when it was new. So VW drivers can probably refuse any "fix" that will reduce their vehicles performance. The car passed its MOT test once without that fix, so it still will. It's the car that cheats, not the owner.
Ethically, there's a dilemma. The pollution that such cars emit is hurting people, especially if the car is used for commuting into city centres. Also traders probably won't be allowed to sell unfixed cars. So the secondhand values of VW cars will fall. Sell your car for ££££ less than it was worth a few weeks ago, buy a better one, sue VW?
Also the government might insist that the (car-crippling?) fix is applied, by enforcing it at the next MOT test. Not an admin nightmare. just something that won't win them any votes!
I'd steer clear of buying any diesel until the extent of the problem is known. If all manufacturers have been cheating along similar lines, there may be a serious backlash against diesels, akin to the almost-banning of smoking/smokers.
Re: When's the tipping point?
It started open source, so there is of course a fork. I am running Adblock Edge.
However, I'm not immediately dismissing what Adblock is doing. I would happily allow adverts in order to allow sites that I favour to derive revenue from those ads. EXCEPT ...
I'm not prepared to tolerate ads which jump up and down, play movies, make noises, pop up on top of my work, try to install malware on my computer, eat really significant amounts of bandwidth, force me to play hunt-the-dismiss-icon, and numerous other abuses which are fortunately impossible in printed media. Until or unless there is a way to restrict the ads which make it onto my screen to ones which behave no differently to printed ads, I'll be forced to block all of them.
The advertizing industry really ought to work out that annoying potential customers is not in their interests, and anything which breaks the rules that print media impose, is annoying this particular customer. In fact I'm offended to the extent that I pop the offender onto my mental "don't buy" list until a worse offender or forgetfulness intervenes. So advertisers, you have reason to thank "Adblock Edge". At least your rep with myself remains zero or positive, rather than going negative.
Re: High Risk Strategy
Confuzzling the Management is a worthwhile skill, but it has to be used with considerable caution.
And one explanation is that there's a rogue engineer at the bottom of this, who thought that he could get away with it, or who didn't think at all beyond the pay-rises and promotions. If a rogue trader could be allowed to bring down a bank or finance house (and we all know that story), how much less likely is a rogue techie?
Re: Please make it stop
Nobody died or even was wounded.
No. Thousands will have died of asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks... It's just impossible to say what percentage of the much larger number of deaths over the last few years might have been averted and for how long, had levels of pollution been reduced in the way that following the regulatory rules would have achieved. No grieving widow can say "you killed my husband" and sue VW, but I have no doubt that some widows' husbands would still be alive had this cheating not taken place, and many more would have enjoyed a few more months of life before their lungs or hearts failed.
Re: he was unaware of the "defeat device"
If VW is the only company that's been doing this, and all the others are complying with the test regime without explicit software cheating, then I'll be surprised if VW is still in business ten years from now. Why would I buy another VAG car, when their engines are five years behind their competitors rather than the five years ahead that they were suggesting until recently?
But if they've all been cheating in much the same way, that makes protestations of high-level innocence harder to swallow. None of the CEOs knew??!
Watching with interest.
Re: he was unaware of the "defeat device"
He is the CEO, and ultimately the buck stops with him.
Which is why he resigned.
However, that's not a reason to jail him, and what this article is about is criminal liability (if any).
Just maybe, batteries are now good enough that you really won't need to swap it. Saving 30p(?) on a battery connector in a £100 phone is significant, less so in a £500 phone that ought to be built to much higher standards. There's also the question of whether a replacement battery would be available when you needed it several years down the road (and the cost of making spares available ... that's another saving from fixing both the battery and the customer's expectations at the start).
Re: Trunk calls?
Sounds like a good keyword for El Reg to use for the govt. of the PRC. (Choose your preferred pre-installed spyware. Telephant or Uncle Sam? What, cynical, me? )
Re: Pocket Computers
I was thinking along similar lines. Not so much a phone as a mini-tablet. It's not exactly expensive and that's a lot of pixels for the money.
Re: I'm curious...
The obvious comparison is with a well-used elderly Samsung that you can buy unlocked and secondhand for around the same price. A feature comparison and year-on review done that way really would be interesting.