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* Posts by Tim Brown 1

239 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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New GCHQ spymaster: US tech giants are 'command and control networks for TERROR'

Tim Brown 1
Facepalm

Improved?

In those long-ago days before the internet, did the intellegence services routinely open everyone's (snail) mail, listen to everyone's phonecalls on the off-chance that they might be up to mischief? I think not. They have to have reasonable grounds for suspicion and then get a court order to intercept those forms of communication.

Far from improving our security, all this interception of internet traffic is just our security services being lazy, quite possibly at the expense of doing the old-fashioned groundwork which leads to real results.

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Mobile carriers keep the promised land on an ever-receding horizon

Tim Brown 1
Facepalm

N95 arguably the first smartphone?

You really need to brush up on your phone history if you think the N95 was anywhere near the first smartphone.

The Nokia N95 was unveiled on September 26, 2006, meanwhile the Palm Treo 180, a GSM phone that had a touchscreen (admittedly only monochrome), could do email, had an internet browser etc, was released in 2002.

Also the Japanese had a more limited form of smartphone as early as 1999.

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DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned

Tim Brown 1
Flame

Horrendous piece of software

Drupal is awful, I can write a complete bespoke system in less time than it takes to explain to a client how to administer a Drupal-based site. In fact without employing a specially-trained consultant, Drupal sites are pretty much unmanageable for the average small business, yet time and again I see developers touting them as the ideal solution.

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The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event

Tim Brown 1

Slackers

Nothing since 14:56 and it's now 16:10!

Or has the internet literally imploded with all the tension?

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Vanmoof Electrified Bike: Crouching cyclist, hidden power

Tim Brown 1

e-bikes keep you fit!

I bought a conversion kit this spring from ciclotekstore.eu to convert my mountain bike into an e-bike and at the end of the summer I actually feel fitter!

The landscape around here is fairly undulating and quite tiring to ride on a normal bike. Now with power-assist I ride a lot more and have found that my pedalling cadence has increased so that I'm always making an effort rather than letting the motor do all the work.

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Oracle will 'kill MySQL' and steal its users? Ha ha, haha, ha. Seriously, we won't – Oracle exec

Tim Brown 1

Meaningless statistics

"the open source database can now process 645,000 SQL queries per second and more than 1 million NoSQL queries per second. It can also handle 67,000 connections per second"

Those numbers are meaningless unless you say what hardware is being used, and even then they are still meaningless as numerous other factors such as table sizes and query complexity have to be taken into account.

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WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Tim Brown 1
Holmes

Re: Mirror

Sorry, whilst the method may be dubious, I have no sympathy for the MP. I don't see this as a 'first offence' type situation, just a first time being caught bang to rights.

By the way, for clarity it was a freelance 'journalist' who did all this and then subsequently sold the story to the Mirror.

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Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole

Tim Brown 1

Re: FUD whack-a-mole

For people that are claiming that this isn't a big deal, have a read of the link below where someone has actually run a test across a large number of web servers. He's found 3000 vulnerable systems already. Now all he did was get these machines to ping back to his test server, but he could easily have done something much worse.

http://blog.erratasec.com/2014/09/bash-shellshock-bug-is-wormable.html

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Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team

Tim Brown 1

What happens when...

Steve discovers they've got rid of the iPads and are using Samsung Galaxy Tabs instead?

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Would Apple godhead Steve Jobs have HATED the Watch?

Tim Brown 1

Except it's not the iWatch is it?

As the Telegraph delighted in pointing out this morning, the new piece of tech is simply the Apple Watch and NOT the iWatch

I expect Steve would have hated that too!

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

Tim Brown 1
Mushroom

A short IPv6 story

A little while ago, we leased a new dedicated server for our business. In the spirit of keeping up with technology and looking to the future, I got one that had ipv6 connectivity.

Shortly after migrating to this new server I was made aware that an application that uses Google Cloud Messaging was no longer working properly, Google was reporting that the server was unauthorised to send out messages. I checked everything and couldn't see the problem, the code was exactly the same as running on the older server and the new ipv4 address had been entered correctly into the Google control panel.

Only after days of digging did the cause of the problem come to light. The cURL library used to send out messages was automatically defaulting to ipv6 rather than ipv4 and so Google was rejecting the messages since the ipv6 address wasn't authorised. Fine - I'd just enter that into the Google control panel then... but wait, what's this? Google's control panel only accepts ipv4 addresses...

Long story short - I disabled ipv6 on the new server as the simplest solution with the added benefit that no more stuff would break for no apparent reason.

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

Tim Brown 1
Holmes

Are we sure it's a selfie???

It doesn't look like a selfie to me - the monkey doesn't have his arm out towards the camera!

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Plane grounded so cops can cuff semi-legless passenger

Tim Brown 1

Bit weird to divert to Gatwick though - in flight terms Edinburgh is what, 15 minutes further away?

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THREE'S A CLOUD! Microsoft veep says only Azure, Amazon, Google can do hyper space

Tim Brown 1

In terms of technology, Google are possibly way ahead of Amazon and Microsoft, simply because of what they have developed to run their own applications.

Microsoft would be the one I'd put a distant third in this race.

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IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

Tim Brown 1

Re: IPv6 is flawed

Agreed - and there's no incentive for ipv6 takeup at the consumer level because NAT is so good at its job.

It's not like ipv6 is the equivalent of colour telly over b&w, to the average consumer ipv6 offers no benefits just potential headaches.

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Google to plonk tentacles on 'unwired' world with $1bn launch of 180-satellite fleet

Tim Brown 1
Mushroom

Re: World Domination

Exactly.

Every aspiring James Bond villain knows you haven't arrived until you have a rogue satellite fleet at your disposal - well, that and an underground lair and a private army.

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Watch this: IPv4 must die! So let's beef up on IPv6

Tim Brown 1
Holmes

It's IPv6 that should die

It was ill-conceived right from the start - by not being an expansion of IPv4 but a replacement. It doesn't matter that my computers are capable of IPv6 if my ISP-supplied router isn't

It's worth reading The IPv6 Mess by DJ Bernstein - http://cr.yp.to/djbdns/ipv6mess.html - that paper was written over 10 years ago now, but all the criticisms of IPv6 are as valid today as they were then. But nothing has been done and thus we have the mess we're in now - where IPv6 is the bastard child that the masses don't care about.

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EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Tim Brown 1

Re: Here is an idea

"Free markets have made you, and billions of people all over the world considerably richer."

Bollocks - this is a fallacy frequently peddled to try to preserve the status quo. Although as you rightly point out, there are very few truly 'free' markets in the world economy.

The wealth gap between rich and poor is now bigger than it's ever been and "The 85 Richest People In The World Have As Much Wealth As The 3.5 Billion Poorest" (source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/01/23/the-85-richest-people-in-the-world-have-as-much-wealth-as-the-3-5-billion-poorest/ )

Real wealth is created through effort and invention (and the wholesale exploitation of the world's limited natural resources, but that's another discussion), not by mindless and parasitic behaviour in the financial markets. That is all geared to trying to get rich by taking wealth away from other people and institutions.

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Cheat Win XP DEATH: Little-known tool to save you from the XPocalypse

Tim Brown 1

Much easier way

If you keep your old, legitimate copy of XP on a separate hard drive when you install Windows 7 you can either then just set up your machine to dual boot so you can run XP when you need it OR using Virtualbox you can create a VM that attaches to the old physical XP disk (as a raw disk) and boots from there. No need to re-install XP, fiddle with any licence or reinstall any apps, your XP machine lives again :)

The only wrinkle if you use the 2nd method is that you must make sure that the XP disk is 'offline' as far as Windows 7 is concerned but is available read/write to the VM while using the VM. You do this using the DISKPART utility from the command line in Windows 7

DISKPART

SELECT DISK 1 (where this number is the window 7's logical disk number for the XP drive)

OFFLINE DISK

ATTRIBUTES DISK CLEAR READONLY

Do that BEFORE starting the XP virtual machine. You also may need to change the graphic driver for XP running under the VM since it no longer has direct access to the graphics card (depends on your original setup).

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

Tim Brown 1

Re: Thank

At least with open source, once the bug has been discovered:

1) we can properly understand the problem and its implications

2) a patch can be made in timely fashion (my servers running Debian Wheezy already have a patch).

Meanwhile for Microshaft and Adobe bugs we have to rely on their tardy release notes and patches for information and fixes or alternatively reverse engineer stuff (breaking their EULAs in the process).

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Passport PIN tech could have SAVED MH370 ID fraudsters

Tim Brown 1

Why mess around?

Come on, if we're going for the tech solution, everyone just gets chipped at birth, you know, like dogs. That way Big Brother can know who you are, where you are, whenever they want.

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This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

Tim Brown 1
FAIL

15% is misleading

That 15% figure for windows XP refers to desktop AND TABLET OSs, since XP doesn't run on tablets it's irrelevant. The figure for just desktop PCs is just under 30%.

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Bitcoin bank Flexcoin pulls plug after cyber-robbers nick $610,000

Tim Brown 1

Re: I believe that a well-implemented cybercurrency would be a good thing...

The weak point of Bitcoin is how people convert into/out of proper currencies. So a 'run' in this context is lots of people wanting to sell Bitcoin while few people are prepared to stump up dollars for them. If the exchanges run out of liquidity, the whole thing grinds to a halt.

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Tim Brown 1

Re: And yet...

The people who are really laughing all the way to the (real) bank are the US authorities that sold all their bitcoins with the market near its peak.

Just because some gullible people see a dip in the price as a chance to jump into the market having maybe missed out on the first bubble means nada. - other than providing more opportunities for the sharks. Come back here in six months and see what the price is then.

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MtGox accepted new customers JUST DAYS before collapse

Tim Brown 1

Love this take on it

Entertaining writeup of the whole fiasco from a bitcoinista here:

http://trilema.com/2014/mtgox-and-ancient-bitcoin-history-the-straight-dope/

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MtGox has VANISHED. So where have all the Bitcoins gone?

Tim Brown 1
Mushroom

It's not like this came out of the blue

Mt.Gox has been a weak link in the whole Bitcoin setup for a long time, you only need to look back through the Register's archive, e.g:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/04/05/bitcoin_ddos_analysis/

and a perceptive analysis of that incident on another blog

http://trilema.com/2013/its-been-an-epic-few-days-what-happened/

made it clear that Mt.Gox was just an accident waiting to happen. Tulip anyone?

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iFrame attack injects code via PNGs

Tim Brown 1

I've written a fair bit of custom raw javascript but nowadays I prefer to use jQuery for a lot of stuff because:

a) it takes care of most of the cross-browser compatibility problems

b) It's well documented and relatively bug free.

Sure I could write my own framework, but why should I re-invent the wheel?

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EVE Online erects mashed-up memorial to biggest space fight in history

Tim Brown 1
Mushroom

Eve?

It's quite a few years since I looked at it, but when I did it was more 'spreadsheet wars' than anything else. Screens and screens full of numbers supposedly simulating space trading and combat. Obviously appeals to some, but I found it deadly dull.

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Don't be a DDoS dummy: Patch your NTP servers, plead infosec bods

Tim Brown 1

Debian systems ok

Just checked my servers and it seems the default config provided for ntpd by Debian is already safe as it includes the lines:

restrict -4 default kod notrap nomodify nopeer noquery

restrict -6 default kod notrap nomodify nopeer noquery

where the advisory advises adding 'noquery' to prevent the attack

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Feds to flog off $28m in Bitcoin from Silk Road drug souk seizure

Tim Brown 1

The beginning of the end

Large sale drives down price... panics speculators... rest is history

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Microsoft's licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination

Tim Brown 1
Holmes

oh really?

"It's also not the case that you can't easily chop Windows down to next to nothing."

You could have a nice sideline in writing a guide as to how to do this, since it's not something that any official documentation provides.

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Customs cops shutter 700+ domains in global anti-piracy blitz

Tim Brown 1
Facepalm

Seized top level domains?

What you mean like .uk, .com and .gov?

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ASA slaps down BT over 'misleading' broadband claims

Tim Brown 1
Happy

so...

"He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

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French court: Google, Microsoft en ami must say 'au revoir' to pirates

Tim Brown 1
Holmes

Yep, geolocking is stupid, it's also trivial (if a little cumbersome) to bypass by using proxies. It's time the media companies realised that the internet is worldwide and their rights should be too.

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DON'T PANIC: No FM Death Date next month, minister confirms

Tim Brown 1
Pint

They should join forces with...

... the ipv6 folks. They can't organise a switchover either.

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I'm Feeling LUCKY OR LAZY™? Chrome gets hands-free voice search

Tim Brown 1
Mushroom

For this to work...

doesn't it mean that Google has to be listening continuously to everything you say, otherwise how would it know when you say the magic words?

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BBC's 3D blunder BLASTED OUR BRAINS – Doctor Who fans

Tim Brown 1

Unwanted tech

I have a 3D-TV. I only bought it because the retailer was flogging them off cheap because hardly anyone wants 3D.

The stereoscopic glasses are still in their wrapping.

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Bitcoin price SOARS after US SENATE hearing on 'legit' currency

Tim Brown 1

Re: Never going to work

Except that that's not how "proper" currencies (something that can be used as an everyday means of exchange) work. Internal market prices/wages should NOT change in response to the external exchange rate (or at least only slowly, over time).

If you're saying that 1000 dollar exchanged into Bitcoin can always buy me 1000 dollars worth of goods, (ignoring the supposed anonimity advantages) I may as well just use the dollars in the first place and avoid the exchange costs.

Bitcoin is just a speculation investment and at the moment has all the appearance of a south-sea bubble one at that.

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Tim Brown 1

Never going to work

It's an interesting technical exercise but Bitcoin itself is never going to work for the masses.

The supply of new coins decreases with time, which is exactly the opposite of what you want for a stable and useful currency if you want to grow the user base, since (bubbles and crashes aside) it becomes more and more expensive for new people to start using it. But it's made the early adopters rich.

I have approximately 0.05 of a Bitcoin myself (acquired via an experiment with mining, before the kit needed became prohibitively expensive) worth at today's exchange rate around £25.

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The TRUTH about mystery Trojan found in SPAAACE

Tim Brown 1

Autorun strikes again

Autorun is a stupid, stupid feature of Windows, that should never have made it into release. Whoever first thought of it must have been braindead.

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Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

Tim Brown 1

Anyone interested in RISC OS should look at http://www.redsquirrel.fsnet.co.uk/redsquirrel.html a native RISCOS emulator for x86/Windows. Still have a copy of my final RISC OS machine running under it - and the nice thing is that with modern hardware it actually runs faster in the emulator than it ever did on the real hardware :)

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Alien planet is just like EARTH - except for ONE tiny detail

Tim Brown 1

Re: There's science and then there's wild guesswork

Actually I do know quite a bit about the subject since it's a related area to my own area of expertise.

These conclusions (indeed one could argue almost the whole of distant object astronomical science) are based on theories which cannot be proven without spacecraft being able to travel vast distances. Given that the furthest any of our craft have got so far is only just beyond our own solar system (Voyager), one erroneous assumption brings the whole theoretical house-of-cards tumbling down.

For instance a lot of what is surmised about objects in space is based on the principle of Doppler blueshift where the frequency of observed light changes as a result of the movement of a source toward the observer. We know that this is how light behaves over short distances since we can prove it under laboratory conditions. However how can we be sure that once those distances are scaled up to light-years there isn't some other factor that comes into play? Or other unknown and undetected phenomena out there in space have an effect? There is just no way we can test for it with our current level of technology. And if that theory no longer holds true then much of what is surmised about distant space is wrong. I'm not saying that particular theory is wrong, but that's just one example.

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Tim Brown 1

There's science and then there's wild guesswork

I love how these astrophysicists can give us the size, mass, composition and relative position of a very distant object based on a tiny, tiny scrap of electromagnetic data.

If they are baffled as to how such a planet could be where it is, the obvious answer is that their conclusions about the data are wrong.

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12

Forget Wi-Fi, boffins get 150Mbps Li-Fi connection from a lightbulb

Tim Brown 1
Paris Hilton

What I want to know is...

why haven't the folks in Under The Dome figured out that they could use something like this to talk to the outside world yet?

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NSA reporter leaves paper for eBay billionaire backed media biz

Tim Brown 1
Paris Hilton

hmm...

Accumulating an $8.5bn fortune via capitalist enterprise and being genuinely left-wing are not two characteristics that often go hand-in-hand.

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Microsoft saddles up for a ride on Sky Giraffe

Tim Brown 1
Holmes

Gobbled up all their capital?

Forgive me if I'm being naive, but isn't a core principle of high-risk investments that you make a lot of them for a small proportion of your capital each, thus, er... spreading the, erm... risk?

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Let police track you through your mobe - it's for your OWN GOOD

Tim Brown 1
Black Helicopters

For the paranoid, there are Android apps that provide this sort of functionality (and much, much more ) already - for instance see http://www.androidlost.com

Now that is for you to track your phone when it's been stolen or lost, but it's no big stretch to see an emergency services equivalent.

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Microsoft Surface 2 fondleslabs finally get off ground with airline order

Tim Brown 1

Re: Classic

Genius until the first incident where a Delta aircraft gets into trouble because their Microsoft tablet locks up at just the wrong moment...

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BOOGIE BALLMER: Steve Dirty Dances at tearful Microsoft leaving do

Tim Brown 1

this:

Profane - Think I've Outstayed My Welcome

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Grand Theft Auto V: Violent, sweary and amazingly ambitious

Tim Brown 1

PC version is on its way

Some clever bods have already identified config files intended for the PC released with the console versions, so there can be little doubt that the PC version is coming, it's just a question of when (my money is on late Nov/ early Dec in time for Chrismas sales).

<cynic mode>

I suspect the console versions are released first these days as people with both a PC and a console would probably get the PC version as it will have better graphics. By holding back that release, they probably push up console sales and may even get some double sales to people who have both.

</cynic mode>

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