Posts by Annihilator

3181 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Inside Microsoft's Surface Pro: A fiendishly difficult journey

Re: Any justification for it being this way?

I assume MS saw that the iPad was non-upgradeable and that was doing well, so instead of making their's non-upgradeable, they just welded it shut as tightly as they could. :-)

Bit of a half-assed attempt at making their device like Apple's, but gotta love it when they try

iOS 6.x hack allows personal data export, free calls

Re: Cutting edge bugs

Yeah that Sky Crane malarkey was positively pedestrian....

There's a difference between "cutting edge" and "tested and built to extremes with redundancies" :-)

Nokia phones have had their share of bugs too though.

Spanish boffins increase GPS accuracy by 90%

Re: GPS for Dummies

"If the cheapy GPS receivers in a mobile phone are only accurate to 10m, how does it (usually reliably) know which lane I'm in"

Sorry, which GPS is actually giving you an indication of which *lane* you're in? It might know "northbound" vs "southbound" or similar (which is carriageway information, not lane) but it knows that purely from your actual direction. Sat navs "snap-to" roads, allowing them to be very accurate. Try coming off a road onto a farm track and watch it lose its way quite quickly.

Even when not snapping-to a known location where it expects you to be (roads), it can use fuzzy logic to determine where you are, as the 10m accuracy will vary over time, and a GPS knows that you'll roughly travel quite consistently. If your reading jumps from 5m side to side, it's more likely the error has varied rather than you've moved erratically.

Re: @Annihilator There are multiple complex roots

@frank ly - bugger! School boy error of assuming root(i) was -i :-(

Re: There are multiple complex roots

There are always 4 roots of a quadratic root (^1/4). In this instance the answers are:

1 + i

1 - i

sqrt(2) . i

- sqrt(2) . i

Re: according to my parsing...

And the answer(s) to -4^(1/4) is +/-sqrt(2)i from my memory, where i is the imaginary number equal to sqrt(-1). There is also 1 +/- i.

Samsung laptops can be NUKED by ANY OS – even Windows: new claim

Re: Sweet Jesus H Christ On A Bike

Yup, it's retro, therefore cool to code badly like that I suspect.

Unless you're a raving anti-Linux type, in which case it's all Linux's fault for existing. :-)

Re: QA whats that then

Easy as it might be to call this a QA issue, it probably wasn't in their spec to test LINUX installs on this hardware.

However, if this is indeed exploitable via one of the "supported" OS'es,

Ah, excellent, *still* trying to suggest that a bad or unsupported OS could be to blame. This isn't about an OS, it's about conforming to the UEFI spec. QA at this level doesn't involve an operating system, the test harness around this level of hardware interaction is and always should be OS independent.

Even if this was a case of an OS making a bad or malformed UEFI call (it wasn't), the laptop shouldn't be damaged by it. This is basic bounds checking, and falls firmly into the category of QA. In this particular instance, it appears to be a buffer overrun, which has been bad programming since forever.

Re: Why Linux could trigger a bug that Windows might not

@Khaptain "Linux was written by inquisitive programmers that like to hack any and all given APIs, interfaces in the quest for knowledge or functionality."

This wasn't a hack or an unusual use of an API or interface though. At a basic level it's a buffer overflow issue with Samsung's implementation of the UEFI.

Incidentally, I think what you point out (Linux more likely to trigger a bug) isn't quite correct, I think it's more nuanced than that. I suspect that Linux is more likely to trigger a bug that the public can then hear about. Windows devs working for MS were just as likely to trigger this overflow (especially as it's an acceptable UEFI call FWIU), but the symptoms, bug report and fix wouldn't be made public.

But I recall that any anti-Windows comment he may have posted on this particular topic was overwhelmed by a flood of 'AC's with such helpful suggestions as "Well if you will run freeware crap, you get what you pay for...".

Yeah I'm also noticing the rather muted response from the anti-Linux crowd on this article. It's like they've applied logic and realised they're wrong.

Or they're just not up yet - give it time.

Only way to stop the iPad: Flash-disk mutant SPEED FREAKS

Re: Sooner?

@Fred Flintstone - we're talking about the pre-Momentus range from Samsung that didn't really show much of a performance boost.

@Dana W - that's not a hybrid drive, so unsure of your point?...

Sooner?

"So Seagate started the hybrid disk drive ball rolling, with its Momentus XT in May 2010"

We're ignoring the failed attempt to get hybrid laptop drives in about 2007 then? I recall they were a bit of a flop mind, but the idea was there.

Seagate: We'll bring down HAMR in 2014 ... this year, you get shingles

Re: SMR has its uses

Not to mention the rather obvious use-case of putting SMR into a hybrid flash drive which it seems perfect for.

Pimental said SMR drives would be introduced later this year, and enable a 20 - 25 per cent areal density increase. Taking a 4TB 3.5-inch drive and giving it an SMR upgrade would bump capacity up to 4.8TB to 5TB.

Thanks for working out what 20 and 25% of 4TB is for me ;-)

iOS 6.1 KNACKERED our mobile phone networks, claim Vodafone, Three

Re: @Ru

@PaulR79 - I assume we silver badge holders are just considered impotent*.

Edit: *important.

It's tricky to strike the balance though. On my desktop I allow the autoupdates to apply themselves, primarily due to MS having a surprisingly good track record of these updates of late. 5 years ago, maybe not, but today I'm reasonably confident MS won't blow my machine out of the water, and in the world of zero-day exploits it's worth that risk.. Plus I can usually roll-back a patch if need be.

However on my good lady wife's iPhone, I believe it's set by default to notify you of any updates, and ask you whether to install or not. She clicked "ok". Fingers crossed there's no issue, as on that particular platform there's no rollback possible.

Microsoft needs to keep visible under waves of Blue

Re: this is not by choice

iOS upgrades aren't "free", certainly not forever. There is a limited number you get included with any device, about 3.5 by my reckoning (3 full ones, then a "limited" version that doesn't have all features, like multi-tasking, or Siri as two prime examples).

Wrong Bush

Seagate squeezes out 4TB desktop monster

Repeat though, "RAID is not a backup, RAID is not a backup..."

The bitrot problem is going to be heeeeeuuuuuge on that array.

Earth-like planets abound in red dwarf systems

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet?"

Easy, because we've only made an outwardly observable presence for the last 100 years or so (EM signals). So at most, they'd have to be within 100 light years to have been alerted to our presence. Half that for them to signal us. Not to mention we might not even recognise the contact.

NASA deep space probe sends back video of 'Comet of the Century'

Can't wait

"so spectacular that it may achieve a brightness of an apparent magnitude of -16, which would greatly outshine the brightest Moon"

Looking forward to that, if only so I can point up at it and mutter ominously "that's no moon..."

If only it were due to happen on May the 4th...

Boffins find 17,425,170-digit prime number

Re: Why are we paying for this research?

"39 certainly used to be prime. "

But then the number 3 came along, and divided the sceptics. And the number 39..

Re: Note the time for the GPU vs the 32 core server.

"Usual caveats, highly specialised problem, highly tuned code probably non portable etc"

Yup, testing a prime number is an "embarrassingly parallel" activity I believe, so translates incredibly well to CUDA. When you consider the number of cores in a GPU it's rather unsurprising.

BIS, bash, bosh: El Reg solves BlackBerry 10 email bafflement

Great name

T'COK-A-RIM, great name. And if they do formally change, I trust you'll call them Blackberry - Otherwise Formerly As RIM - or BOF-A-RIM

Kirk to beam up chat with ISS astronaut on Thursday

Re: Guitar

This would be the only thing that puts me off going the ISS, someone playing the guitar somewhere. Though I think it's a rule of any property where you have flatmates - one of them is going to be a musician. Glad to see it's a universal law that extends beyond our atmosphere.

Re: You've written your favourite order of captains??

Oh, as for Twitter leaders of ex-Trekkers, may I submit Wil Wheaton with around 2.3m followers on Twitter?

You've written your favourite order of captains??

What, are you paid by the comment or something?? Can't argue with your Picard choice, but would happily debate the order of the rest.

BANG and the server's gone: Man gets 8 months for destroying work computers

Re: Acidic revenge...

^^ that. I can understand him being p1ssed off at missing out on a bonus, and at a stretch imagine him doing it once. But to hold a grudge for three years and keep up that level of malice?? That's bordering on, erm, "difficulties in the gray matter"!

Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps

Re: This is not about phones

The host instruction set shouldn't matter. From what I can tell it's running on an Android emulator, and is working to translate Win API calls to Android API calls. This isn't new, there was a version of WINE running on Mac PowerPCs before they switched to x86 (DarWINE?)

Yup. But doesn't stop the down-votes flooding in for the same thing I suggested above.

The obligatory analogy - you were given a key to the back door of a house by virtue of showing them you had a front door key. The front door key has now been stolen, but was stolen in a tightly locked box that will take a good deal of effort to break open. So they've changed the front door lock lest that ever happen. The lock for the back door hasn't been compromised, and there's no way to use the stolen front door key to either open the front door, or be granted a new back door key, even if the front door key is broken out of the box.

Re: There is a very clear risk

"There was no gap between hackers getting the username/password (why wasn't it encrypted - was it?) and twitter locking the accounts?"

Was it encrypted? Yes. The risk was if they ever decrypted it, it would then be worthless.

To revoke the Oauth logins would have revoked it for every user of the app. Crap implementation maybe, but the risk assessment is pretty much zero.

Re: There is a very clear risk

@Richard 12 - they can't log in as you using one of these apps. New logins aren't accepted, they still require the user/pass combo (which would fail), only pre-existing logins work. These apps are permanently logged in, and don't store passwords on the device, relying instead on this one-time token which was unaffected by the breach. To log in a different app on a different device would require a generation of a new token which would be issued on submission of the correct password, which would no longer work. The article says as much, namely logging out of the Twitter app (destroying the old OAuth token).

The title of the article is misleading "Twitter clients stay signed in with pre-breach passwords", it's not "with" pre-breach passwords. It's with a token unaffected by the breach.

No security risk?

On first reading, it seems that there isn't an issue. Potentially usernames and passwords were leaked (though salted, and emphasis on "potentially"), which has no bearing on the tokens used by the Twitter API which uses, in effect, a unique one-time password that exists between client and server.

The only criticism is that some affected users wouldn't know they'd been affected, but the only risk to them would be if they shared passwords across different services.

Pub o' clock comes early for C&W biz customers silenced by titsup phones

Re: Email that I jut got from CW

"A spare disk? Are they saying they didn't have a HDD onsite for this (assumed) server?"

No, they're saying they've used a spare disk ("the replacement disk has been inserted into the Glasgow machine") and are sending a replacement for that spare disk. For all you know there are x spare disks on site and they are now down to x-1.

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster remembered 10 years on

Re: HSE

I know why RSOs exist, was merely pointing out their existance to demonstrate an accepted risk of the entire stack going wrong, which astronauts are aware of.

It's thought that at most they would have had 30 seconds of knowledge, when the main hydraulics failed, probably even less. Events up until that point had been nominal. The decompression event that followed loss of hydraulics would have lead to loss of consciousness pretty much instantly.

Unlike the Challenger disaster where it's thought the crew survived until impact, 2 minutes 45 seconds later.

Re: HSE

Also, I used to know one of the ISS designers (or a designer of an earlier version of it.) She said about the Shuttle - 'You'll never get me in that thing. I've seen the plans.'

There's clearly risk in spaceflight, astronauts know and accept this. As an example, it's a relatively little known fact that the Space Shuttle had a self-destruct mechanism (utilised in the Challenger disaster) controlled by the Range Safety Officer.

What astronauts probably don't expect and expect though, is that the risks are really poorly managed in the case of both shuttle disasters.

We're not making this up: Apple trademarks the SHOP

Re: ...

@Stratman - no idea who'd vote you down for a square being a rectangle?? A square is also a parallelogram and a quadrilateral. And a polygon for that matter. And a closed polygonal chain :-)

Re: What next?

"No other shop will be able to have smug looking "cool" staff wandering around doing anything other than actually selling anything."

Abercrombie & Fitch got there waaaay before Apple did on that front.

Re: Prior art ?

Yes but their tables are perpendicular to the wall, instead of parallel. Phew!

Christ, even Gap has a similar layout to this.

Apple blocks Java on the Mac over security concerns

"(with the obligatory offers to install crapware at the same time)."

Urgh, that. 100x that. Not so much that it offers, but that the Yahoo (!) tool bar is selected for install by default is beyond annoying.

ESA proposes 3D printing on the moon

Re: Inflatable

I think it is based on inflatable buildings, and they are spraying it with some form of cement - that's what the "printer" is doing - but a cement made of moon rock.

The difference is all they need to take to the moon is the binding agent, the base material is free in effect.

Commentards Ahoy! How about a Petabyte of storage?

I missed out the other condition as it was less relevant, but it also has to support 1.4kN point weight, so you'll be fine standing on one foot ;-)

And yes, as pointed out already 400kg would be fine in a room, but only if it were spread out over the whole floor, which it probably wouldn't be. And it won't necessarily happen the instant you subject it to that weight.

Source, BS 6399:

You'll see in that doc that server rooms have to be rated to 3.5kN/m^s and 4.5kN point weight - about 3x the strength of a domestic floor.

Re: I'm floored

400kg, or 4kN approximately is a lot, depending on how it's sited. A residential floor needs to be able to support 1.5kN/m^2 (BS6399). Say it's all mounted in a single 19-inch, about 0.6m x 0.6m means it's generating a load of 11kN/m^2, which is substantially over that limit.

I don't worry about entering a room with 4 people in there, but equally I don't stand in the same area as all 4 of them. As long as the room is over 2.7m^2, then you'll be fine. And fitting 5 people in a room that small isn't that common.

Not to say it wouldn't be a problem, but certainly don't bank on it.

Exciting

I'm considering myself to now be a freelance journalist. I eagerly sit by the letterbox awaiting my cheque.

How to destroy a brand-new Samsung laptop: Boot Linux on it

"Were there any stickers on those machines with "Designed For Linux" on them?"

Probably not, were there any stickers on it that said "designed for Windows" on it? I've not seen them for some time. The only ones I see are "Windows 7", telling you what software is on it at shipping, or "certified for Windows 8". None of them say "Can only run Windows 7" which would be a strange thing to put on an x86-64 machine. Presumably your understanding would be that it can't run Windows Vista either?

"Yeah, I put diesel in my petrol tank ... guess what?"

No, the closest analogy is you put Shell petrol in a Ford Focus, when the sticker on the cap now says "Ford recommends BP"

Re: There is a simple fix

Dear AC

"I'm sorry, please explain to me why Samsung now have to fix a buggy Linux kernel driver." Because a) they wrote it, and b) it's not that they need to fix, it's the crappy laptop that allows its firmware to be vaped by a software error.

"Did Samsung write it?"

As stated many times, yes, in this insance, but even if they hadn't they would still be responsible for building a laptop that doesn't fail to protect its firmware.

Is that so hard to understand?

Signed,

a non-Linux user.