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* Posts by Charles 9

3472 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Solar enthusiasts rays idea of 'leccy farms on MOON, drones

Charles 9
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Re: where the cost of delivering heavy equipment and maintaining it is minimal

"Moondust is just as bad as desert sand, but it's still a lot easier to maintain in a desert."

At least the moon has no atmosphere and therefore no WIND. Sand by itself doesn't do much until air picks it up. It's not sand that raises the maintenance costs but sandSTORMS.

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Charles 9
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Re: not rocket science

Ivanph is in the desert, too, and is solar-thermal. Thing is, despite its size (5.5 sq. mi.), it's estimated to only provide enough power for just over 1% of California's homes, to say nothing of big energy sinks like heavy industry (and let's not start on industries like aluminum smelting which specifically requires lots of electricity due to the smelting techniques involved---at least steel smelting can use non-electric sources).

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Charles 9
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"Now, I'm the first to say governments everywhere are the single most inefficient organized bodies on the planet, but they are also the best suited to absorbing the costs of huge programs that benefit all of society. It's actually what governments are designed to do, gather resources and redistribute them where the greatest good can be had. I am not saying they currently redistribute those resources the best way, but programs like this is what they're structured to do."

Put it this way. There are some things you can't trust the private sector to do right because money isn't the right motivation (at best, it distracts; at worst, it actually interferes). That's why I don't trust the private sector when it comes to medicine. This is one industry where the money angle interferes with the greater goal of improving health (think treatment regimens vs. permanent cures/vaccines).

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Charles 9
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Re: not rocket science

"Current solar cells in a clear sunny location near the equator can generate at least a kWh per square metre per day. A square kilometres of panels can generate a terawatt hour per day."

I would like to know where you obtain these figures. Because I have a counterpoint.

Ivanpah is the largest solar plant in the world, at 5.5 square miles. It's about to come online. And note this plant is solar-thermal (using molten salts) so actually CAN still generate electricity at night unlike photovoltaics. It's rated generation is 392MW, enough to power about 150,000 California homes (thing is, California is the most populous state in America--over 12 MILLION homes alone). So may I ask where you numbers come from? And how is night accounted for?

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Sceptic-bait E-Cat COLD FUSION generator goes on sale for $US1.5m

Charles 9
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Re: Don't stand too close

PV is one of the few that doesn't require use of a turban to generate electricity. Then again, its efficiency also stinks compared to modern turbines.

In any event, aren't some plants finding ways to harness the waste heat more productively?

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Charles 9
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Re: Why the scepticism?!

Because by actually taking money for an actual device but not delivering, he would be legally on the hook for fraud. No, what he wants is to draw in more "R&D" bucks which he can then launder.

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Meet the BlackBerry wizardry that created its 'better Android than Android'

Charles 9
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Re: "It doesn't mean that QNX is necessarily more secure"

Only because formal verification is very complicated, and even then the formal verification only applies to specific compilations/implementations like that for SEL4.

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Charles 9
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Re: Well done guys, plenty of overtime coming up

I would think it will start happening sooner than that. Android 4.4 KitKat introduces the new Android Runtime (ART). The big feature of ART is precompiling Dalvik apps upon installation. Seems a bit rough around the edges, but it definitely shows where they're going.

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Got a NAKED Jelly Bean Samsung S4 or HTC One? Maybe it's time for a KitKat

Charles 9
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Re: No update on Galaxy Nexus

Most of the security issues fall to the apps, which DO get updated routinely outside the OS update cycle. When was the last time a security hole was found in the Android kernel or other base functions?

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Charles 9
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Re: Kit-Kat rules

4.4 has been making the rounds in various custom ROMs. It IS rather snappier thanks to the new Android Runtime; but there have been some teething issues as well. I've been thinking about flashing to it myself, but I think I'll have to wait until those kinks get worked out.

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Vint Cerf: 'Privacy may be an ANOMALY, now over'. And it's no secret I think that

Charles 9
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If not, there were always the bards and troubadours, who made it a living to pass on the "news" (read: gossip) they learned along the way.

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Charles 9
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Re: Do not buy stuff from adverts

They're not that dense. And the advertisers' job is to, to coin a phrase from an ad, "make the fish bite even when they're not hungry." They've made it their art form for over a century, and they're MASTERS of persistence. If they don't get you one way, they'll work another way until they get a hook (and they WILL get a hook eventually--it's what makes spam worthwhile after all). Sooner or later, they'll make a deal you just CAN'T resist because it hits something that makes you snap it up before it's gone (like a deal on something for the wife or kids just in time for Christmas). And that's all they need to get started.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Fix

We've ALREADY had a number of high-profile dumps. Celebrities either live with the risks or eschew the Internet, and frankly those ARE your two options.

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Charles 9
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Re: EMails are anomalies

Post and bulletin boards, shopping trips, and newspapers (with their classified advertisements) served a similar function for centuries. And all could be observed to enough of an extent that things could be gleaned from your habits.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hate to say this

Which means we're in the delicate part of the revolution: the part where we start learning of the unintended consequences. Think the big push for insecticides...until we learned the side effects of stuff like DDT...

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Charles 9
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Re: Turn the debil off ...

Until you get tagged by an IP match, a "cookie" matcher (or other thing that can track stuff you can't erase), some other clever bugger that figures out your fake IP or login is connected to your REAL one.

To maintain a fake identity on the Internet for any length of time pretty much requires using a completely different computer on a different IP address. And even then, an uber-clever matching program may start making inferences based on one's grammar style or other kinds of long-standing habits that are hard to think about, let alone break.

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Charles 9
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Re: ""Privacy may be an anomaly.""

"Once I have convinced you that resistance is futile and I will do whatever I want with you I have already won.

Don't believe the BS."

You assume it's BS. Thing is, for the most part, it's not. We've really become the Global VILLAGE (And I mean that in the sense of a small, tightly-knit community that can easily tell who's doing what. IOW, Villages have no expectation of privacy).

If convincing you that resistance is futile is a winning condition, then actually achieving the state that what you want is inevitable must be a condition of never losing. You're holding the royal flush, the ace of trumps. Until the game changes, no one's going to knock you off the top.

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Berners-Lee: 'Growing tide of surveillance' is destroying the internet

Charles 9
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Re: Proposed solution?

1. Overhead's a bitch. Try running a Freenet node for a few weeks and see how little useful traffic you get for the bandwidth allotment.

2. You forget about pwning the endpoints. IOW, the plods can always go AROUND the encryption.

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TrueCrypt audit project founder: 'We've set our sights high'

Charles 9
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Re: Still a problem for non-techies

"People are always going to be surprised by the unexpected. One way to minimize this is to expect more. Generating a random or strong pseudo random salt for every encryption you do is just good practice. Worst case it is a trivial bit of extra work for nothing. We are at a bit of an impass because you obviously can't see how compromised salts can be an issue and I am unable to see how they could not be."

Not necessarily. That's what contingency planning is all about. The thing is to plan for

But back to the thing about key sizes. In the real world, the key size hits realms of diminishing returns, plus there are issues of bandwidth and storage limitations AND they don't account for all possible avenues of attack like insiders or pwning. Ultimately, security is a risk assessment. Since perfect security is impossible, even WITH a one-time-pad, it becomes an exercise in just how far one is willing to go to be secure. At some point you hit the sweet spot where beyond that you reach diminishing returns: where it's more effort than it's worth in trying to thwart your attack (such as in making the key large enough or quantum-resistant, the adversary switches to the new path of least resistance).

That's why practical secrets like Formula X (the Coca-Cola recipe) or the WD-40 oil ratios aren't kept in electronic form at all. It's kept by a very small inner circle who performs the mixing in a black box--ingredients go in, the desired product goes out. Even then one could learn some things (at least a maximum) from the ingredients that go in, but they probably don't use everything and intentionally waste some things to throw off the trail. But that's the kind of risk assessment they made with this system.

As for the multiple sources issue, that goes back to the Trent problem. If ONE source can be compromised, how can one be certain they're not ALL compromised? Particularly by using the one compromised source to reach out to all the rest like a plague?

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Charles 9
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Re: @ Jason 7, NSA really isn't hanging on your every word

As for the weakest link in any encryption, isn't it the human factor, which you really can't do much about? Isn't that why social engineering and the rubber hose are so effective?

As for computationally-expensive algorithms, this poses a challenge. What if you must be secure BUT you also have limited resources (such as a weak embedded system that nonetheless can't be replaced or the need to be able to do LOTS of them at a time so even a top-end CPU get bogged down), meaning you MUST be computationally cheap as well? Would this be considered intractable? And if so, what happens when forced into such a situation with no room to improve?

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Lavabit founder: Feds ORDERED email providers to stay open

Charles 9
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Re: O Rly...?

Except THEIR services ARE under government mandate AND described as "life-saving". Providing a secure e-mail service doesn't have a direct effect on whether people live or die. Stopping a shooter, putting out a fire, or rushing a heart attack victim to the hospital DOES. Meanwhile, history has shown that private companies in such a service can "go mafia" and start protection rackets (once upon a time, fire services were private until THAT bit), so they made most life-saving services answerable to the government and thus the people.

Oh, and before you thing it went over my head...(Reveals the cricket ball that tried to go over his head, only it's too torn up to be worth using). I'm not responding to sarcasm but to BAD sarcasm that can easily be taken seriously.

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Charles 9
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Re: For Starters: USENET

You could do the same thing with a chan-type webpage where anyone can post a message without any kind of header information. Then the page is just downloaded wholesale.

Thing is, what about those with bandwidth restrictions? Trying to obfuscate your message has a price, and unlike with a Times advertisement that price may not be affordable to the paranoid.

And going back to trust, there's also the potential paranoia of the state, one of the most powerful and resourceful agencies around, cooperating or subverting OTHER states and creating a kind of MiniLuv that can subvert enough of a trust system (even a key exchange) to still be able to figure you out.

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Arm-wave bye BYE! Apple grabs Kinect flail-sensor maker for $345m

Charles 9
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Re: Apple Telly

Jobs' widow may have the largest individual share, but I suspect the MAJORITY of the shares are held by types who would see things the media firms' way and thus vote to secure their content behind as many walls as they can. As Disney has itself proved, keeping a good chunk of their stuff locked up makes people clamor when they DO come out those rare times. BY stirring up excitement in rotations, they can actually draw repeat business out of a one-time thing. When it comes to 4K, I'm pretty sure Disney and the other movie companies want to get it right the first (and only) time. Who cares if the customers get ticked at the hoop-jumping; too many aren't bright enough to see the hoops for what they are: enough to keep business going. It's 1 smart vote against 10 stupid votes; stupid wins.

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Charles 9
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Re: Apple Telly

Thing is, for 4K to sell, it'll need something outside of Apple's control: CONTENT. And for once, the movie companies have said "No Way, Jose!" to anything even remotely resembling general-purpose computing. Unfortunately, Apple counts among them (FTR, so do Google and Android). When 4K content arrives, Apple will have no control over the content: the movie companies are too paranoid to trust anyone but themselves and those they've hired directly to deliver the goods.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9

"They were probably more cautious about a peripheral for a video game console with known sales figures."

AND, more importantly, a known lifespan. When you know your console will pretty much be in the bargain basement inside of a few years with its successor on the horizon, you pretty much know how long you need the tech. That's the thing about tech: it moves fast. By the time you're done, you're already seeking the next generation of that tech, which is as likely as not to be elsewhere (and from what I heard Microsoft went and bought that tech which is now in the XBox One). Microsoft bet on Kinect and for the most part it's paying, so they'll keep running with it.

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Charles 9
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Why buy when you can get a long-term lease for cheaper? And by the time the lease expires, newer tech will be along to replace it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Apple v Microsoft round 1001

I think Microsoft isn't too concerned about Primesense or the related patents. Odds are they hold a nice long licensing agreement with Primesense that would be transferred with the acquisition. Which means Apple can do sod-all with the deal or Microsoft (since the license means Microsoft can legally use the patented tech) until the contract runs out.

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Eat our dust, spinning rust: In 5 years, it'll be all flash all the time

Charles 9
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Re: Speed (bandwidth)? Or acceleration (latency)?

"If your Internet commerce business model really does involve never knowing what (large) pieces of data your clients will instantly need from anywhere in your single-tier all-flash storage setup, I hope that they're paying well for the service..."

As I recall, Google (one of those businesses who DOES have a "no stale data" issue) rolls their own.

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Charles 9
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When we can see a 256GB R-RAM module in a 2.5" form factor for no less than twice the cost of a comparable flash drive (or the equivalent on a PCI-E card), THEN I'll say it's probably the future.

Thing is, all these post-Flash techs have been "a stone's throw away" for years. At best, some of these have seen limited rollouts. Call us when one of them hits the mass market.

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Charles 9
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Flash may have hit the density wall, but hard drives are hitting the SPEED wall, and right now enterprises need SPEED more than anything. Internet commerce runs at breakneck speeds; if you don't keep up, you get passed. So enterprises with that need for speed CAN and WILL pay the premium for whatever flash is available (some are even willing to shell out bookoo bucks for SLC flash--think of THAT). The figure is that, for that outlay, they improve their transaction rate which raises their returns, allowing them to amortize the premium AND keep up with the competition.

And before you say, "prioritize your data," many business are in a situation where they don't (and perhaps CAN'T) have "stale" data that would be the candidates for offloading to hard drives. They need ALL the data ALL the time at a moment's notice (IOW, since you never know what your clients need, ALL the data becomes priority one).

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Charles 9
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Re: I don't know about...

Thing is, the consumer sphere will still have a valid use for spinning rust: bulk storage of low-priority data (think music and movies for a media center or a home backup--tape is impractically priced for the home). Time is NOT of the essence here, but space IS. So hopefully WD and Seagate will keep the spinning rust going for a while longer at least.

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Charles 9
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Thing is, manufacturing energy costs are one-time whereas operating energy costs are continual as long as the drive is running, so there's always the likelihood the cumulative operating costs exceed the one-time manufacturing costs.

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POWER SOURCE that might END humanity's PROBLEMS: A step forward

Charles 9
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Re: Fusion for energy

Such as?

NOTE: I've already noted the big problem with aneutronic fusion--higher energy requirements--so I'm honestly skeptical. Let's see some HONEST innovations, complete with their benefits and drawbacks vs. the tokamak or whatever.

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Charles 9
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I don't know about a one-day collapse of civilization, but I could see high-stakes energy interest being against the idea. ANYONE with skin in a market would be against a disruptor out of their control. Kind of like people invested in aluminium as a precious metal when electric smelting of alumina was invented (transforming the metal from precious to common). Most fuel companies would not be too pleased with a fusion breakthrough since it would pretty much dry up the power plant market (though to be fair they wouldn't collapse altogether--each would still have markets fusion wouldn't challenge at that point--coke is still needed for steel, synthetic hydrocarbon fuel is still some way off, and methane/propane still has efficiency advantages in heating and flexibility advantages in power generation).

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Charles 9
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Re: There's more than one way to skin a cat.

It may interest you to know that aneutronic fusion like you describe is EVEN HARDER to pull off than deuterium-tritium fusion (in the case of hydrogen-boron, by a factor of 10 in terms of energy requirements).

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No woman, no drive: Saddo hackers lob Android nasty at Saudi women's rights campaign

Charles 9
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I'm rather surprised the malware didn't take their work to its logical conclusion: request network or GPS location and text the phone's location to the authorities as the location of a conspirator.

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

Charles 9
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The thing is, all the Bitcoin identities are hashes, meaning they're like Swiss bank account numbers. They need to attach names to those hashes.

Having said that, there are services like Coinbase that work within the confines of the law in that regard. They treat Bitcoin like a foreign currency which has a well-established set of rules, practices, and regulations, and they keep records for tax purposes. If Bitcoin exchanges behaved like Coinbase or equivalent, then I don't think the US Government will be too concerned.

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Infosec bods scorn card-swiping Coin over security fears

Charles 9
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Re: Dead stupid, but might still be adopted

Easy? I daresay the only way you'll get something like that through is by CRISIS. And given the type of crisis that'll take, I shudder as the collateral damage.

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Charles 9
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Re: Dead stupid, but might still be adopted

No, do that and they'll balk because fixing it for them costs money. And note that the banks can influence Congress.

Also, if consumers don't like the EMV, they could do the ultimate protest and back out. Like I said, some peole are VERY bad with numbers.

As for hidebound belief, a sizable contingent of Americans were polled as saying the world is flat (and honestly believing it, too). So you know what, the cynic in me tells me to expect the worst now, as too many people are too stupid or apathetic to give two shakes of a dead dog's...you know.

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Charles 9
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Re: Err, really?

That's assuming Chip-and-PIN gets accepted. You have to ask why magstripe has stayed in the US for so long, and perhaps one reason is that people have trouble with PINs (which are already used for bank cards). What happens when too many people cry out, "I want my magstripe back!"?

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New FCC supremo: Sort out your cell unlocking, mobe giants - OR ELSE

Charles 9
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Re: Not going to make a squat of difference.

"I cannot says this enough NEVER EVER EVER EVER "buy" a phone on contract. Do an outright purchase, or do do without. Don't come crying to me if you can't do anything with your phone outside of your original carrier at the end of your contract. Heard it enough here, and I'm sick of it."

Well, sometimes, you don't have a choice. It's either the contract phone or NO phone, especially in the US. Most international LTE phones don't support bands IV or XVII which are the main bands used in the US. And last I checked, ALL the big-brand US phones are sold locked because they normally go to the providers first (buying one direct tends to net you the International phone, which like I said is problematic here).

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Charles 9
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I'm of the impression that LTE has helped to stabilize things at least in regards to the two big ones (T-Mobile and AT&T). Each has settled on one band (IV and XVII, respectively) so US LTE phones tens to keep those bands and play the field with the field with the remaining band allotments (My S4 for example supports I and VII, good enough for most foreign use).

And I've seen Net10 change over to a SIM-only provider with their SIMs available here and there. Of course, you could also get SimpleMobile SIMs cheap over the mail.

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Charles 9
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That's usually stopped by the frequency gap. Most US phones don't work well abroad. Most of them use a frequency unavailable in the US as it's a military frequency there. I think the locking is more to stop provider-jumping in the event of unusual deals.

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Charles 9
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About blanking time.

It should be standard policy that any phone that fulfills its contract plan be unlocked automatically, as the contract (the reason FOR the phone lock) is completed at this point. Historically, T-Mobile USA has been very reasonable if a little reticent about unlocking (when I was with them, they let you do it as early as 6 months, and without charge except maybe a phone call) while AT&T has been as reluctant as can be. Can't say about the other GSM providers, but some consistency in this matter can only help.

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Linux backdoor squirts code into SSH to keep its badness buried

Charles 9
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Re: Incoherent Nonsense

"OpenSSH authenticates both the server and the client party by Strong Cryptographic Means. There is NO WAY to "insert" even a single bit into an ssh connection. Or to remove one. All you can do is to destroy the connection completely."

Sure there is. One way is to insert it BEFORE the encryption (if a process can subvert either end, they can access the cleartext BEFORE it's encrypted).

I'm putting my money, though, on a SECOND simultaneous session with its own keypair, and running ALONGSIDE the existing session. So on the network, the SSH session packets get shuffled together. To a network monitor will look like another packet of ciphertext, indistinguishable from what's already been passing through. And since it's being run on a server machine, it would be hard to distinguish traffic from the C&C from legitimate traffic.

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Charles 9
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Re: Backdoor or Trojan?

No, it's properly called a backdoor. Any program that surreptitiously opens another way to access the system is by definition a backdoor. A program can be BOTH a trojan and a backdoor (it's the flow that determines if it's a backdoor or not--if the malware waits for a C&C to connect to it, it's a backdoor. If it actively seeks the C&C and connects to it, it's just a trojan).

As for how it got in, I would wager it piggybacked on another trojan that carried a privilege escalation exploit.

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Google SO CAN scan ALL BOOKS onto its sites - judge

Charles 9
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Re: "District court"

From what I've been told, the US Court of Appeals ALREADY ruled on the case, sending the case BACK for a point of law ruling. If appealed, even before the full court, they are likely to uphold the ruling they already made. That would leave only the SCOTUS, and they won't agree to hear it unless it raises a significant legal or constitutional question.

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Charles 9
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Just a question. Why is a federal district court judge the FINAL say in the matter? Has the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit already ruled on this case? Even so, cannot the decision be appealed to them and from there possibly to the SCOTUS?

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Brit ISPs ordered to add more movie-streaming websites to block list

Charles 9
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Thing is, they're attacking all the proxies, too.

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Charles 9
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Re: v4 IPs

The Brits aren't so dense. They block by IP; since most people don't know how to keep a hosts file or use an alternative DNS (they may not even be able to--depends on the ISP), that tends to be enough for them. That's why you typically have to reach the site by a proxy which hasn't been blocked yet. If the site changes IP, they'll just block that one, too.

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