* Posts by John Smith 19

9742 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Why does the NSA's boss care so much about backdoors when he can just steal all our encryption keys?

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Note that once it's know that the backdoor *exists*

Various groups will never stop looking for their access protocols and how to access it.

The point is it's guaranteed to be there.

How does this not end badly?

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: What a scary (looking) man.

"I think he looks like a Harkonnen, personally."

It's that malevolent gleam in his eye that says "All your phone encryption and IP addresses belong to me"

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"sounds kind of shady"

Because it is.

31
0

Not even GCHQ and NSA can crack our SIM key database, claims Gemalto

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Who to believe?

Released documents of agencies concerned or company whose share price will go down the toilet if public trust in them is shattered.

Decisions, decisions.

11
1

Euro spacemen clear Ariane 6 for liftoff

John Smith 19
Gold badge

A few notes.

Part of the justification for the mostly-solid A6 was its commonality with the SRB's on the Vega, which is already flying.

Part of the A5 problem is that the upper stage is not relightable. This means that when Ariane try to get 2 sats to launch together they have to close to the same part of the GEO orbit.

While I can sort of understand this for the LH2/LO2 US Astus propellants are hypergolic and ignite on contact.

The other issue is that sat weights have been creeping up and getting a heavy + medium weight pair together is getting harder. However the payload rise is not beyond the bounds of an upgrade starting with the Vehicle Equipment Bay . This thing is in carbon fibre and is less than 1/2 the diameter and no taller than the one on the Saturn V (whose computer weighted about 50Kg and whose gyros weighed another 50Kg without the GN2 to spin them up) yet it weighs the same (the Saturn one was built in Al honeycomb by IBM, not a company known for their light weight structures engineering). The Saturn V Instrument Unit was also designed to carry a 100 tonne Apollo stack on top.

IMHO there is something seriously wrong with this design.

0
0

Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Actually Buffet went further

Roughly "If I'd a time machine and a rifle I''d go back to Kill Devil Hill and shoot it down."

Although I think he was more thinking of all the airline operators that had gone down the pan over the years and taken billions of share holders dosh with them.

3
0

Finally, a decent use for big data: Weeding out crooked City traders

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

It might be effective.

Trouble is that would drop investment bank profits down to "absurd" from "obscene"

And you can bet no management wants that.

1
0

Hoping for spy reforms? Jeb Bush, dangerously close to being the next US prez, backs the NSA

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"in order to effectively tackle Islamic terrorism"

I'd think anyone who's seen "Bitter Lake" will be thinking.

1) Get Saudia Arabia to stop funding the indoctrination of Wahhabism in foreign schools.

2) Get Saudia Arabia to stop exporting these nut jobs abroad and handle their own s**t.

3) Call up the CO of 617 Sqdr and tell him there's a bunch of dams that need demolishing.

If most of the 9/11/01 bombers were from Saudi Arabia, where should the states of the world be focusing their attention?

6
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
WTF?

Is it true he's meant to be the *smart* one?

Bend over America.

If you tolerate this then your children will be next.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Joke

Re: What's the problem?

"If supporting the NSA helps prevent those pesky, uncomfortable questions about his family's close ties with the Saudi royal family from being asked, what's the problem?"

That's before they invited the House of Saud's good friends the Bin Laden's around for a "Get to know you" barbeque

Mind you their eldest (Osama I think) weren't much of a drinker, but he was partial to a nice piece of cooked beef.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: Just one of many reasons...

Depends.

If one of his brothers is the Governor of a key marginal state and the votes kind of slid toward his side.

4
0

Home Office wins appeal against £224m e-Borders payout

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: The balls on Raytheon...

"...to screw up so badly our gov cancels a contract and still demand termination charges."

Your forgetting that Raytheon is a US Govt con-tractor.

The USG (I think this is unique in the developed world) can unilaterally any contract with no notice and no payment.

Anyone who actually follows their contract is viewed as a soft touch relative to that.

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
WTF?

Shock new. UK Govt dept writes contract with *penalty* clauses in.

I'm not sure my heart can stand the strain,

Perhaps they might do this more often.

2
0

HOLY SEA SNAILS! Their TEETH are strong enough to build a plane

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Boffin

The figure from the paper is 3-6.5 GPa of tensile strength.

Which I think is getting closer to "space elevator" grade materials.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge

Re: At the size of a human hair...

"Because nothing else is based around the idea of building a light car with a turbo engine that runs at 15k rpm minimum.

And a energy recovery system on both the brakes and the turbo that generates 180hp.

And can withstand 190miles (Silverstone) continuously.

And roughly 800miles (rounded down - 4 races per engine) overall before something can be replaced.

And the g's of braking from 200mph multiple times a lap for 52 laps (Silverstone again).

And has to fit into a very small space.

(enough?)

You forgot. A cockpit/seat that can allow the drive to survive a 200mph crash without an airbag.

4
0

After Brit spies 'snoop' on families' lawyers, UK govt admits: We flouted human rights laws

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"And who exactly got to decide that somebody is an extremist? MI6? Any other spooks?"

Well, you're trying to take them to court.

QED You are an extremist.

Simple.

10
0

Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

John Smith 19
Gold badge
FAIL

f**king useless search function.

If your in a departments page you'd probably want to search that departments back pages, yes?

Apparently not.

TBF some of this is the front end to mainframe systems that most of these little darlings know f**k all about and would not understand if it was explained to them.

2
0

SAP's 10-year HANA gamble: A life without the big boys

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Another "Integrate the stack" ploy.

What could possibly go wrong?

1
0

NASA plots methane-detecting laser in SPAAACE

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Facepalm

Re: building new hardware to find the second most common cause of AGW.

"Science is a model - all of it. So, you're saying that the whole of science is wrong?"

Given the context of the discussion that would be a General Circulation Model of the atmosphere and the oceans.

But for the more stupid I will make it explicit as well.

I was referring to GCM's. none of which report a temperature plateau and all predict higher CO2 --> higher temperature.

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Thumb Up

building new hardware to find the second most common cause of AGW.

Excellent.

More data collection, less "extrapolation."

Perhaps this will explain why the temperature rise all models have AFAIK predicted is not, in fact, happening?

Beyond the obvious fact all models are wrong.

3
2

UK air traffic mega cockup: BOTH server channels failed - report

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Now if this is a CMM5 installation

They'll analyse the development process and find why it wasn't picked up in development.

Build a tool to find all the other places the code does not match.

Verify there are reasons why they don't match or if not which (if either ) is the correct value

Update the system

Run the changed modules through regression testing (including the revised tests to find the new faults).

Will it happen.

Who knows?

2
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

So magic number on *two* systems didn't match up.

A couple of points

Non matching numbers is not IT that's administration or source code control.

OTOH if that number can be updated by human input that should be most carefully controlled.

BTW is anyone thinking "Hmm, 193. Not 255 or 128?"

Just so random.

1
1

World's mega-rich tax dodge exposed: Meet the HSBC IT bloke at the heart of damning leak

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Presumably that would include Bernie Ecclestones *alleged* £2Bn in unpaid tax.

Which IIRC the HMRC took about £11m off him.

IE about 0.5 % of the total.

Nice deal if you can get it (and of course if you need, as perhaps he really doesn't own that much m'lord).

12
1

Silicene takes on graphene as next transistor wonder-stuff

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Happy

"Has someone predicted silicene will be a room temperature superconductor yet?"

Already done

Complete with why Silicene is such a super duper material of the future.

Although current transistors are now about 33 atoms wide and this won't do much about that.

0
0

Siemens sighs: SCADA bugs abound

John Smith 19
Gold badge
FAIL

Given the penalty for failure you'd think the kit would get *better* testing than home stuff.

But apparently not.

0
0

NSA lays out its reforms post-Snowden (they can fit on back of a stamp)

John Smith 19
Gold badge
FAIL

"These gagging orders will now expire after three years."

Unless of course the surveillance is ongoing, in which case they won't.

1
0

US anti-backdoor bill: If at first you're shot down in flames – try, try again

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

The proudest boast some politicians want to make.

"We destroyed your freedom to keep you safe"

Thanks a f**king bunch.

3
0

UK boffins DOUBLE distance of fiber data: London to New York WITHOUT a repeater

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Go

Note the part about *existing* fibre, not tricky stuff with FO ampliers.

There's a lot of that in the ground/ocean already and replacing a bunch of repeaters with basically a short length of passive fibre (if you can't pull one of them through into the chamber and join them directly) is going to save some people a very great deal of money.

0
0

Are virtualisation and the cloud SNUFFING OUT traditional backup software?

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Big Brother

Just remember

He who owns the data

Owns you.

4
0

SWELLING moons of ice dwarf Pluto snapped by NASA spy-probe

John Smith 19
Gold badge
IT Angle

This is a pictur from about 38 AU away from the Earth.

I think most peoples mobiles would have trouble picking up a cell tower 2 miles away.

3
0

Forget robo-butlers – ROBO-MAIDS! New hotel staffed by slave-droids

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Thumb Up

Obvious place for this to start.

Standardized building layouts and colour schemes make the problem much simpler to deal with.

The big joke is doing the bed.

Simply collect up the stuff after a single use and have a separate "pillow and duvet laying machine"?

I'm surprised "capsule" hotels don't have more automated "room processing" already.

0
0

Google: What this planet needs is INTERNET FROM SPAAACE

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

The early 90's are back. Yay

Several companies tried various rifts on the LEO (or MEO) comms game back then. I think there were about 5 of them with proposals.

Several RLV companies thought this was the killer app.

IIRC only Orbcomm (SMS from space, OK for tracking long distance truck drivers) and Iridium (very expensive calls to oil exploration workers in the field, later the DoD) actually launched. Both are on their 2nd (or 3rd) generations.

The RLV companies just died.

There is some speculation that this will be the application that needs all those reusable F9 1st stages that SpaceX is hoping to recover and refurbish over the coming years.

We'll see.

0
0

US drug squad cops: We snooped on innocent Americans' phone calls too!

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"The program was suspended in September 2013 and ultimately terminated,"

Was that before or after they started getting data from the NSA directly.?

9
1

Prez Obama snubs UK PM's tough anti-encryption crusade at White House meet

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Elect a PR goon, what do you get.

More PR.

3
0

Hey, bacteria: Resistance is FUTILE – boffins grow new super-antibiotic

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Core story.

Pharma company can actually be arsed to do the work.

This has been a looooong time coming.

0
1

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

What a revolutionary idea agile seems

Actually getting the customers input to the problem before the "solution" is set in concrete.

Who knew?

6
0

UK.gov prompt payment promise is POPPYCOCK - NAO

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

It used to be *worse*

Back in the day SOP in the construction industry was to force suppliers into bankruptcy to avoid payment.

This is no longer legal as AIUI the debt is still owed to the liquidators.

I'm all for companies charging interest. It's maximum level is not usury but it's enough to stop big companies not using you like their personal bank, which is in effect what is happening.

4
0

Judge kills Facebook's bid to dismiss private message sniffing case

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Joke

What's that? the product is complaining.

The audacity of these economic production units.

How dare they.

7
0

REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

Re: Jovial mainframe compilers.

"As someone who has been around DEC kit being used for safety related stuff in UK for three decades (either as development host, or target platform (eg European Air Traffic Control), or both) I can safely say that although I encountered several instances of Coral and a handful of RTL/2, I came across writeups of the language but never came across a real Jovial, host or target, and I'm not aware that any of my US colleagues did either. [Iirc, a few of the Coral applications started with 'BEGIN CORAL; BEGIN CODE;' followed by in-line assembler for the remainder of the application]"

For a more complete list of JOVIAL apps (and development hosts) can be found here.

http://progopedia.com/implementation/jovial/

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Holmes

Re: There's legacy, and there's legacy

"All you get from passing the ACV tests is the knowledge that some version of the ACV tests were passed using some version of the compiler and some version of the runtime."

Ever wondered why embedded dev teams who do life threatening mission critical code are very reluctant to change their tool chain, including new releases?

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: Who Do We Believe?

"For all those months, the DNS Server had operated as if the Mainframe connection was a Temporary connection that would Go Away as soon as the "Session" was complete.

6 Months Later, the Same Problem occurred AGAIN.

The Same ID10T had reset the URL in the Exact Same manner and not managed to rub together the two brain cells that should have Fixed the problem the First Time."

"Bodge" coders (and their counterparts "bodge" sysadmins) can "fix" anything.

They're just not very good at the critical thinking needed to ensure it stays fixed, by doing the necessary spade work.

By their work, so will you know them.

Unfortunately.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: There's legacy, and there's legacy

"RTL2 was another matter. It seemed to incorporate the worst features of C and Pascal, with none of their redeeming characteristics, and a buggy compiler to boot. I remember compiling RTL2 to PDP11 assembler, and then having to get the overlays right to fit it all into 48K. Building got easier when the output was M68K, the compiler was no less buggy though."

AFAIK RTL/2 predates C and is around the same age as Pascal.

One of Unix's lesser appreciated gifts to the world was putting YACC and lex into the hands of anyone who wanted them. Suddenly if you wanted a compiler (and where prepared to invest a relatively small amount of time) you could have it

Before that if you wanted a compiler it was fire up the assembler, and prepare for pain. I would suspect that RTL/2 (like early C) didn't really have a formal "standard" and at any given moment they either hacked the compiler to match the (desired) behavior or hacked the standard to formalize what the compiler could do (without massive surgery to its structure).

With "hilarious" consequences all round.

Keep in mind that the "classic" PDP 11s did not have memory management hardware (IIRC that came with the 11/780s and the VAX's ).

BTW the British Teletext systems ran on PDP 11's running RTL/2 code before being retired in a C rewrite.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: There's legacy, and there's legacy

"These days gcc and gnat mean that in general 'only' the code generating bits need to be target specific, other kind and clever people have done most of the rest in a target-independent fashion, and you can have it (source included) for free."

Unfortunately the problem is not that you have a good compiler (Which is maybe 1/3 the problem. You need versions of the Ada standard packages and some version of the defined Ada development environment, ideally tools using the DIANA intermediate language.

But you're still not done.

You have to prove it. That's where you need a certified Ada validation suite from someone like NIST or BSI to prove what your compiler does (and does not) compile meets the Ada standard exactly

Do I have to say you won't find one of these on the shelves at PC World?

It's about giving the customer the certainty that the customers code will do exactly what the standard says it will do (although wheather they realize exactly what that is is another matter).

I know. It's anal, it's bureaucratic, it's slow but it's how they roll.

And honestly if you're sitting in one of those metal tubes in the sky would you really have it any other way?

2
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Big Brother

"Surely you mean an Extraordinary Rendition Flight."

Surely, citizen you know no such flight has ever entered UK airspace.

3
1
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Facepalm

Re: User submissions need pre-check

"It's just they're heading to somewhere different to where they said they would."

Isn't that an alarm, not a systems crash type event?

4
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

Jovial mainframe compilers.

Looking a bit further I found IBM did supply a JOVIAL compiler under their "Type III" license.

IOW It was freeware.

No guarantee supplied. Use at owners risk.

Possibly not what you're looking for to crunch the code for you mission (and life) critical ATC app.

The commercial ones were hosted on it as cross compilers for things like the 1750A and Zilog 8002 (apparently the F16 was a design win for this puppy. Defense con-tractors. Crazy).

My recollection of JOVIAL was it was common on DEC boxes but as cross compilers to deep embedded kit.

1
3
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"This would be a good opportunity to examine whether a central ATC is optimal when transponders + computers in each aircraft could, like a swarm of birds, create a self-organising complex system."

The trouble with all such brilliant ideas such as yours is they fail to account for all the stuff that's in the sky that does not have the room/power/aerial to mount a part of you "swarm."

That's better tracked from a central site (or rather a series of "central" sites, usually called "airports") and reported as a proverbial "unidentified flying object."

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Happy

Re: There's nothing like state of the art hardware

"OS/370 and its descendants were running mission critical workdwide apps when you were in nappies boy. "

Could you say with an "Emperor Palpatine" voice?

For the more humor impaired in the audience I should say I absolutely agree. I wonder if this is the one they got off the FAA in the states, and does it still have valves in it, as their last one is reputedly said to have had.

Reading the story and the comments 2 things intrigue me.

1) It looks like it was a "bug" in the data that borked the primary, then it did the secondary, which tried to switch back to the primary. So what kind of data can't be sanity checked before its passed into the system (and of course will checking be added to the code now)?

2) I did not know a Jovial compiler for IBM mainframes even existed. Historically it's been for deep embedded systems like aircraft flight computers, ECM systems, radars etc.

4
3
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

Re: There's legacy, and there's legacy

"But I've not kept abreast of recent developments, so does any one know what is now being used instead of JOVIAL? (I'm a little surprised the wikipedia article doesn't mention this, so presume the obvious candidate - ADA, isn't quite so obvious or universally used)."

JOVIAL was big for real time control apps. IIRC it did the software for the B52, B1 and F15 at least (off the top of my head). The USN (being the USN) had something else (CSL?, something with a C in it)

I guess the UK equivalent were things like CORAL66 and RTL2 (ICI's in house computer language. No that's not a typo).

In theory Ada was meant to be the cure for this babel of DoD languages (including most of the assembler). But writing a full Ada compiler is a not trivial exercise and the DoD has a lot of odd hardware knocking about. and getting conversion tools to convert old-bonkers-software-originally-running-on-valve-processors has turned out to be a tad expensive.

The big surprise (for me) was having a Jovial compiler for an S/390 (or rather an S/360 as it would have been then). AFAIK when it's IBM mainrframe and it's real time it was assembler (which is how NASA got theirs to deal with the Apollo programme).

Yes that's an anorak.

8
0

UK flights CRIPPLED by system outage that shut ALL London airspace

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: *DOH*

"Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again?"

That's sort of what they did.

the rest was the mopping up process.

0
0

Forums