* Posts by Number6

1784 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Facebook's new stalker tool

Number6
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Yet another reason not to install the FB app on your phone.

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Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

Number6
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If he installs it in a Ford Transit, would it be considered as a classic example of Van Newman architecture?

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Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Number6
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Re: Two Stages

It's not quite that one-sided. The rest of the EU may wish to trade into the UK so we have rules too, that's why negotiation and reasonable attitudes are required. If a forest of red tape and tariffs suddenly hits UK business when trying to sell into the EU, there may be a trade war where all the EU imports get hit by equivalent red tape and tariffs. Business leaders won't want that, it'll only be the politicians trying to maintain their egos.

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Number6
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Two Stages

If we could vote on “common market” and “ever-closer political union” separately then I suspect the entire discussion would be very different and much less fraught.

We are attempting to do that in two stages. The first is to leave the EU, which dumps the political union part. Then, assuming reasonableness all round (hah!) we can negotiate a sensible common market agreement.

Much of the Remain argument has been about how the EU is going to be nasty and mean to the UK in the event of a Leave vote. Do we really want to be associated with such a group of people? I'd rather leave on principle if they're that obnoxious. On the other hand, if they are indeed sweet and reasonable people (see above) then there's nothing to lose and everything to gain from voting to leave.

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Stuxnet was the opening shot of decades of non-stop cyber warfare

Number6
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Neuromancer

Sounds a lot like a William Gibson novel. Spooky that it was written in 1984. As with the book of that title, some seem to be using it as manual, not a work of fiction.

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Mobile phone app replaces Congressional TV as Democrats stage sit-in

Number6
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Periscope's finest hour(s).

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Parliament is building a new website – and it doesn't want GDS anywhere near it

Number6
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Video

Hopefully they'll offer the video archives in something a bit better than Silverlight that is properly cross platform (HTML5, anyone?)

The information available is quite comprehensive, you just need to allow yourself time to find out where it is. I assume that's the sort of thing to be addressed by the revamp.

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Maine town plans to become 'Gigabit Island'

Number6
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City?

I did boggle a bit at calling it a city. One of the nicest ones I've visited if it is. although they have a Town Hall, not a City Hall.

A bit of maths suggests that $3.8million (excluding interest) would be paid back in three years if they had 100% sign-up for the fibre.

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Kremlin wants to shoot the Messenger, and WhatsApp to boot

Number6
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Re: Sounds worrying

I thought Telegram was open source, at least the client side. If it's got end-to-end encryption then in theory a compromised server shouldn't be an issue if it's been done properly.

Mind you, how many people download the source and compile their own app?

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Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers

Number6
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Re: Government clueless on rates as usual

The way to fix council tax is to replace it with something based on the last sale price of the property, inflated annually by some fixed amount, to be re-assessed each time the property is sold. That way, granny who paid a pittance many years ago but lives in a £2million house in London isn't forced out, but anyone buying it from her (or her estate) knows in advance how much tax it's going to cost them annually over the coming years and can budget for it. Then apply it to all property, business or residential.

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Number6
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Re: Oh training budgets....

I'm also amazed how quickly things go from "required for role" to "nice to have" when you point out that if it's a business requirement, then the business should be paying.

Yes, had a variation on that too. Many moons ago, the my employer was trying to tidy up the software environment, removing all the dodgy stuff and giving everyone a legal copy of WordPerfect (for DOS, so that long ago). We'd been using it for several months by that point, a whole group of engineers writing a lot of procurement specifications, so between us we'd pretty much figured out all the useful features. The catch with the legal upgrade was that we were all required to go on the WP training course, and reading the syllabus we realised that it wasn't going to tell us anything we didn't already know how to do. We finally escaped from this one when the engineering manager realised that all the course fees were going to come out of his budget and suddenly we didn't have to do the course before getting our legal WP. This is the same company at which I filled out that training feedback form I mentioned elsewhere.

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Number6
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Re: Wot?

The PFY had better watch out, something really bad is in the works.

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Number6
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Re: Sounds like

We got exposed to psychology course at uni. Being engineering students, we mostly took the piss out of it, and it was clear that in most cases you could select a bunch of studies to support a viewpoint and then select a different bunch to support the opposite viewpoint. It wasn't all useless though, I think it taught us all how to recognise bullshit at an early stage and take appropriate countermeasures.

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Number6
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I once filled in a post-course feedback form:

Q. What did you expect to gain from this course?

A. Nothing

Q. What did you gain from this course?

A. Nothing

I had complained loudly before going about how the course was well below the level at which I was working at the time but because someone needed to tick a box somewhere, I had to waste company money attending. I don't think they sent me on any more after that one though. No axes or hatchets were involved though.

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Kill Flash now. Or patch these 36 vulnerabilities. Your choice

Number6
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All the video stuff on the BBC website that I've tried insists on Flash being present. About time the Beeb updated its website to something more modern. I guess it'll happen sometime after they get IPv6 accessible.

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E-books the same as printed ones, says top Euro court egghead

Number6
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That was my immediate thought too.

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Lester Haines: RIP

Number6
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WTF?

RIP Lester, you will be sadly missed.

Perhaps LOHAN needs to be renamed to LESTER, not an acronym, it just stands for a really good bloke.

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DataCore drops SPC-1 bombshell

Number6
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I thought they looked like Tallboys. If they're on display then hopefully someone checked that they aren't full of explosives, unlike the Grand Slam used as a gate guardian at RAF Scampton.

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RIP ROP: Intel's cunning plot to kill stack-hopping exploits at CPU level

Number6
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Re: Would also bork legitimate code

Back in the days of the 8-bit processor, I remember writing code (in assembler!) that would implement a 16-bit jump by pushing the target onto the stack and doing a ret. Not all processors needed it, the 8080/Z80 has a JP (HL) instruction so that one didn't need to involve the stack, although it also had the EX (SP),HL instruction to make it easy to manipulate the stack content.

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Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash

Number6
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Re: Maybe,

Easier approach would be to tip off MS that the poachers are running pirated copies of Windows. that way the poachers would be fighting off the MS legal department, which would then actually be performing a useful service to the world.

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BOFH: What's your point, caller?

Number6
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Re: ....The boss and the PFY have become rather patient of late

Just let it wash over you, while grabbing the occasional item of interest from the flow for further examination and entertainment. Plus there's the concept of the long game, it might be that the PFY needs to put in a month of effort but thinks that the end result will be spectacular and worth the effort.

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Cumulus Linux 3.0 NOS now in the wild

Number6
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Linux

Sounds like an ideal distro for cloud-based stuff.

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Shhhh! Facebook is listening

Number6
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My solution is that I refuse to have the FB app on my phone, along with most other apps. I'm sort of stuck with the Google crap but I do my best to review app permissions and have declined to install a few based on what they ask for and what I think they need.

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Boring SpaceX lobs another sat into orbit without anything blowing up ... zzzzz

Number6
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Re: Ob: Pournelle

Here we go, hypersonic technology, 60s style...

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Number6
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Re: Ob: Pournelle

Except the Thunderbirds are a figment of imagination. Where as this is real life.

But Thunderbirds is still set in the future, despite using 1960s technology (the episode where Gordon is wandering around inside Fireflash shows this really well) and an old kitchen clock. Who's to say that SpaceX isn't laying the groundwork for TB3?

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Number6
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Re: Ob: Pournelle

I think of Thunderbirds 1 and 3, which have been successfully doing this since the 1960s.

(OK, so TB1 technically isn't a space-going rocket, but it still manages to land on its tail back under the swimming pool)

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As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

Number6
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Re: I thought I recognized "Sensus"... We have met the enemy and he is (Sens)us

Having said that - some apparently kosher small switching supplies have enough leakage to make you jump if not under load. In the early days of switching supplies for computers the earth conductor was very substantial to handle the leakage.

If it's the kind without an earth connection, then the usual thing is for the negative side of the secondary to be connected to live and neutral via about 3nF of capacitance, presumably for EMC purposes. This means that in the absence of anything else, a UK PSU will look like a 120V AC source in series with 1Mohm impedance, so if you grab it and a convenient earth you'll be tickled by about 120uA of current, which is enough to feel.

If you've got a suitable multimeter you can try it - put it on AC volts and measure between earth and the PSU output, then on AC current and do the same thing and you'll get something in the ballpark of those numbers.

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Number6
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Re: Holy shit, these people are retarded!

Yes, it's always worth trying that if someone gives you a redacted PDF.

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Number6
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Re: GPl

Grab the popcorn girls and boys. It would be so amusing if LandG were using GPL code and can be forced to open the whole source.

Not necessarily. They are obliged to provide a copy of relevant code on request to anyone who owns one of their products, which would be the electric utility. I don't know if they're supposed to provide a copy to anyone who *uses* the product (i.e. the customers).

Also, provided they've done things correctly, they only have to provide the base OS and its supporting programs, their application code is still theirs and is not subject to the GPL.

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Number6
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Re: I thought I recognized "Sensus"... We have met the enemy and he is (Sens)us

I learned with CIVIL - with C, current leads (CIV), with L, current lags (VIL).

It's a far more polite way to remember.

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HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

Number6
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I spent nearly three months playing croquet on the grass outside or sailing RC boats in the ornamental pond due to lack of work and impending end of the company. They didn't forget to stop paying us at the end though, but I think the few who were kept on to finish a few things got pretty good retention bonuses.

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Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

Number6
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Re: @ Sir Runcible Spoon. One reason is because of the dogs

Our dog is big and loud and the meter is not visible from outside. Worse, you have to run up some stairs to the gage from where the meter is fitted. However, the pool is much further than the meter so there's no need for the meter reader to fall in that.

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Number6
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Re: Optional

What do they plan to do with that complete list of everyone who's accessed the docs? It makes me want to go visit every public library I can and click on the link.

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Number6
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Re: Mmmph! HAHAHAHA!

I've lived in other large cities in the US, and this has to be one of the most unstable power grids around. One wonders how much duct tape is really keeping it all together

Based on the outages, clearly not enough.

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Number6
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Security?

They clearly aren't very confident about how well they wrote their software then, if they're worried that it's vulnerable to terrorists. Someone ought to push for an independent review of it all, just in case, before they're allowed to deploy the network.

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Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

Number6
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Re: Onset of turbulence is entirely predictable

Yes, works for me too.

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Number6
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Re: The single biggest problem with turbulence

Turbulence can hit without warning, and if you've got the trolley in the aisle when things start getting bumpy, wedging it in place might be the best you can do.

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Number6
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Re: Big jets are boring and stable

I remember being on a 747 departing Gatwick, being thrown around a fair bit. Overhead lockers were popping open and the people across the aisle from me were praying. I was more like "Yee-haa!"

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Number6
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Re: "means the wing tips are flexed up to 90 degrees during testing"

Also note that if you've got wings in a line and they then both go up 45 degrees, the angle between them is 90.

Especially on larger aircraft, it's always fun to point out the wings to kids before take off and tell them to look at the wings when flying. On the ground, the wings are hanging from the fuselage, in the air it's the other way round and the tips will be several feet higher as seen from inside the aircraft. A quick impromptu science lesson.

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Number6
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I can see a sudden rush of people going into their bank branch for transactions again, just like it used to be.

Except no, most people will carry on because in could never happen to them (until it does).

There are reasons I only do banking transactions from one machine at home, and even on that one I decline their offer to 'remember me'.

Having said that, my bank does use 2FA for on-line banking, and one of the reasons I only bank from home is because that's where the card reader is.

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ISS pump-up space podule refuses to engorge

Number6
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Can't they crush a few Viagra pills, mix in water and inject it as a fine spray into the inflation air?

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A UK digital driving licence: What could possibly go wrong?

Number6
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Re: OK, I'll bite

Sunny California uses the driver's licence (-se?) as official ID. Those who don't drive can get an equivalent official ID from DMV if they want to. Quite a few places ask to see it, often if you're making a large purchase with a credit card, but it's not the intrusive thing that would have been the UK ID card. You hand over your credit card (or swipe it yourself, or occasionally put it in the chip-reader slot) so they already know who you are, then they ask to see ID, so you show then your licence, which looks official and the photo looks vaguely like you, and that's it. No logging into a surveillance database that you bought such and such an item at a store, it's very low key and there seems to be no push to make it worse.

Now, if the UK had started along those lines they could probably be introducing their huge database around now.

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You wanted innovation? We gave you Clippy the Paperclip in your IM client

Number6
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Easy - wave a magnet near it, if it interacts then it's irony, otherwise it's sarcasm.

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Google asks the public to name the forthcoming Android N operating system

Number6
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I think they should call it Sir David Androidborough.

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First ATM malware is back and badder than ever

Number6
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OS/2 FTW

Bring back the old OS/2 ATMs. They were pretty reliable in their day.

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Brit twitchers a-tizz at bearded vulture sighting

Number6
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Are you sure it's not Carl Icahn in disguise?

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Help! We're being crushed, cry billionaire cable giants

Number6
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For cable modems the US cable companies do at least allow you to purchase your own box rather than rent one of theirs. There is a list of approved boxes, although in searching for the ones that support VoIP I found several hens' teeth on the journey. So now I have my own box, it's been installed just over a year and has probably just about paid for itself in terms of saved rental costs. It works quite well too, unlike the one they'd been renting me up to that point (which they'd broken with a firmware upgrade).

It would be interesting to see how this works out with the TV boxes, there's a whole different product requirement there.

On the other side of things, I don't remember having a choice of box with UK cable, but then there wasn't an explicit line item for rental either, and part of the sales pitch was that if it broke they'd fix it or replace it for free. That doesn't happen if it's your own box.

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Number6
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Open Access

Perhaps they need to learn a bit from BT and require the big almost-monopolies to provide access to the subscriber base similar to how ISPs have access to BT lines in the UK at a sensible cost. While not perfect, it would be a huge improvement over the existing arrangements where there is no effective competition. It is notable how the cable companies have improved their game when Google fibre has come to town.

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Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards

Number6
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Re: Chip-and-pin «vulnerability»? No, it's not

Yes, I've come across this one - swipe the card and the system tells you to insert it in the slot instead.

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Number6
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That's changed - a lot of places in the US you're expected to swipe your own card in the reader, presumably for exactly the same reason. However, you often have to either show it to the cashier or hand it to them after swiping, it appears that they have to manually enter the last four digits of the card as some sort of proof that they've at least looked at the front.

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