* Posts by Richard 12

1597 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Students hack Tesla Model S, make all its doors pop open IN MOTION

Richard 12
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It's more than that

The smartphone stuff is not supposed to work while the car is in motion, so even if that was the vector they have done more.

Car electronic security is poor to abysmal in general, it doesn't matter much while the only vector is the plug-in point, but manufacturers have been adding wireless functions and links to to Internet...

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PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

Richard 12
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Re: It weighs in at 167g, and it's a very heavy 167g.

Yes, it's all about the shape and size.

A 167g steel ball feels heavier in your pocket than a 167g slab, despite having the same mass.

It sounds like they misjudged the aspect ratio.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Richard 12
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Re: "This call may be recorded for training purposes"

"This call is being recorded for my amusement."

Let me do absolutely anything - I never said what I find amusing, did I?

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Richard 12
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Pirate

Re: Just tell them you've sold your house

Then they just insist you should take their service at your next place of abode.

They'd probably still say that if you told them the account holder had died...

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: "Could agree what makes a good password"

You've never seen a standards committee!

The couple I deal with (associated with ANSI) are fast compared to the BSI and ISO, and still produce standards that are impenetrable and late - though occasionally one does manage to escape.

Unfortunately standards committees tend to encourage architecture astronauts, and have a great deal of trouble simplifying things - one of the standards I've been waiting for has now been "in committee" for five years, with no sign that it'll be ready soon (part of the draft was radically changed about three months ago...)

PS: CE isn't a standard, it's a mark signifying compliance with the "appropriate" ones of several thousand different standards.

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Richard 12
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The real problem

Is all the junk sites insisting on you signing up with a "secure" password, email address, blood sample and flesh of your first-born in order to do a one-off transaction.

And of course by the time you've done all that, you are absolutely certain it will be a one-off as you will never, ever consider using that site again.

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UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

Richard 12
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Re: Is their a list ?

It will be published in Hansard.

I think this link should work tomorrow (16th): They Work For You

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NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

Richard 12
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Re: Search... find.

There's other ways to protect the surface, eg atmosphere, water, distance...

Though an atmosphere that thick may well be a Krikkit...

- Tidally-locked could be interesting, a band of habitability around the terminator, protected from radiation by the thickness of the atmosphere. A few books have been written set on such a world.

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Richard 12
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Alien

Re: probability...

See the Drake Equation.

Some of the variables are now known to a reasonable degree of accuracy, so pick numbers you feel make sense for the remaining ones.

The original estimate was 1000 - 100,000,000 civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy alone.

We now know that R* and fp are higher than Drake's group originally estimated - though some of the other values (eg fi) are probably smaller.

As the values of the remaining terms are indeed unknown, you can justify both large and small values for each of them.

However, you cannot use zero for any of these terms because we already know that (semi) intelligent life has arisen at least once in this galaxy.

Given that the Universe is really rather big, it is extremely improbable that the remaining values are all so small that the final answer is 1 civilisation.

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

Richard 12
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Re: The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

@Hugo Thanks.

Where is this published? I could not find any of these details at all.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

And if I understand correctly, no security at all.

The design appears to be that each lamp has a permanently-set "address" that's used to send commands to it. The QR code encodes this, much like the barcodes on some DALI fittings that contain their serial numbers.

The lamp doesn't have any way to verify that the sender of the command is authorised, so you can sit outside somebody's house sending commands to every possible address until you find the ones that are active.

On the bright side, it does appear that after spending a little while identifying them, you can play Tetris on the side of a block of flats without needing to bother the owners.

Apart from the whole "changing their lighting at random" bit, anyway.

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Richard 12
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Re: yes, TWB

Yes, videos in portrait orientation are almost exclusively taken using a smartphone.

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Windows N+1

MS have history on this - Vista hid the "Shutdown" button, and put "Sleep" where you'd expect it to be.

The four Vista laptops we have destroyed their batteries in less than a year...

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Richard 12
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Re: Is it just me.....

What if there's an empty space in the box that might have previously contained a vial?

How do you confirm that the vials currently in the box are the vials that are supposed to be in the box?

You need to know that all the vials are there and are the right ones, because if somebody nicked them...

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Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

Richard 12
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Re: I've read of several studies...

Yes, the summaries I've seen say that the extinction is generally believed to be due to the Western diseases brought over by the first few visitors.

A massive epidemic of several previously unknown diseases like smallpox, flu etc could and probably did wipe out most of the locals between "First Contact" and the first boat to pop over full of Conquistadors.

More or less the opposite of War of the Worlds, I suppose.

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Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage

Richard 12
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Re: Service status updates

It'd be useful for the poor abused sods on the support phones though.

Plus smartphones on mobile data - unless it affected Virhin mobile as well! (Don't know)

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Richard 12
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Re: You can't do it anyway.

You what?

You're the entity who said it was easy to do.

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Richard 12
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Holmes

Re: You can't do it anyway.

Well, quite. If you use a router that has the option then you'll have the option.

What if you're a "normal person"?

Normal people use the equipment provided by the ISP for the purpose. They don't buy a router because they got given one "free".

So if an "average person" got through to Virgin's support, they could only be talked through fixing their connection for their laptop/desktop, but not for their phone, On-Demand TV or other services which they have paid for.

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Richard 12
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You can't do it anyway.

The Virgin-provided routers do not expose options to do that anyway, neither client-side (internal DHCP) nor router-side.

Many devices don't expose this setting, either expecting the DHCP server to properly work or even assuming the Gateway is the DNS.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

The Hub's not so "Super"

Annoyingly there is no way to change the Superhub's DNS settings, so I could only fix the PCs and not my wife's phone or the set-top box.

I spent 40 minutes on hold to find that out nugget of information.

At least "Cable Modem mode" is easy to set up, just not something I felt like doing during an outage.

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NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: @Khaptain - New York or Los Angeles

No, it's worse than that and that's why this is impossible.

The "noise signature" of every studio changes over time. The technique is useful to confirm whether or not a recording was made in one take or whether it's been tampered with, no more, no less.

- Eg if the background hum has "jumps" in it, then a segment was either cut out or cut in. If the background hum is missing, then it's probably been tampered with.

It's listening for frequency shifts as the load changes on the local substation. Those changes are very chaotic, and quite random - the HVAC might be merely chaotic given a known outside temperature range, but the lift movements really are random!

A given florry ballast might whine differently to another, but again, that whine will change as the supply voltage varies and the whine pattern will change as the lamp and ballast ages, and significantly when the lamp is changed.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Richard 12
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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

There is a fair bit of localised processing in the ear, both mechanically and hydraulically in the fluid-canals, and then 'traditionally' within the neural nets that further pre-process the signals from the sensory hairs before going to the brain.

There's a heck of a lot of physically-distributed processing in an animal - for an obvious extreme example, the patellar reflex does not involve the brain at all.

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British and European data cops probe Facebook user-manipulation scandal

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Did you notice...

Did you know that El Reg's Terms of Service allow the SPB to send your pets into space?*

It's their platform, their rules, they can do whatever they want with it.

Just because you own the platform doesn't mean you can do what you want with the users of said platform. There are laws governing what you can and cannot do.

* They don't, but there's nothing stopping them putting that clause in if they felt like it. It still wouldn't allow them to do it.

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Richard 12
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Re: Did you notice...

Doesn't matter whether he proved anything or not, they should not have done it at all.

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Remaining Snowden docs will be released to avert 'unspecified US war' – ‪Cryptome‬

Richard 12
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Re: Erm, no

Phrased that badly - the first is an example of something that probably shouldn't ever be published and the second an example of something that must be published - and will be important forever.

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Richard 12
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Erm, no

A list of informants names and addresses could still put them in danger many decades in the future, so should never be published.

Proof that the NSA was spying on the leaders of friendly nations would still be relevant for as long as people identify with those nations - which is longer than the nation itself continues to exist.

If proof was published showing that the French secret service had detailed knowledge of everything most US citizens were doing last decade, would they be happy about it?

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Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good

Richard 12
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Re: Just digging themselves into a deeper hole

Adverts are generally obviously trying to sell something.

Most people are clearly ok with seeing adverts a lot of the time, or even deliberately seeking out an advert-laden medium as they watch commercial TV.

However, this is manipulating the users by artificially changing the content, hiding posts which they probably will have wanted to see.

It's like broadcasting two versions of Corrie - one where everything went wrong for the characters and one where everything went right, and seeing if it made the viewers happy or sad without their knowledge

- Except that a week of a soap opera without disaster for someone would be suspicious in itself, which isn't true of Facebook.

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Richard 12
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This will have hurt people

It may even have provoked a couple of suicides.

It doesn't matter whether the study displayed negative posts, only that it hid them.

If you posted a "cry for help" on Facebook and your friends didn't answer, instead they continued to post inanities, then what?

You don't know that Facebook deliberately hid it from them.

This would never have got past a reasonable ethics committee, because you have to inform the subjects that they are part of a trial and allow them to withdraw if they don't want to be part of it.

"Assumed consent" is bollocks, pure and simple.

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Facebook 'manipulated' 700k users' feelings in SECRET EXPERIMENT

Richard 12
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Re: A couple of simple tricks:

For some reason, many Facebook settings only work for a few days before mysteriously resetting to defaults.

The Newsfeed settings vanish so quickly that I don't use it at all anymore.

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USB charger is prime suspect in death of Australian woman

Richard 12
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Boffin

@JeffyPoooh - "China Export" was a joke. It's not a real thing.

If you "make an item available for sale" in the EU, it must meet the requirements spelled out in the appropriate EU standards.

If you make it commercially available (ie selling it in shops), the entity making it available must affix the CE mark, and take personal responsibility for it meeting the appropriate regulations. This is usually either the importer (eg Tesco) or the manufacturer (eg Apple).

If it's a prototype, one-off or other very limited-run item, (eg custom-built in your shed for money) you don't have to affix a CE mark, but you do still have to make a "best effort" to meet the requirements.

It's just that an enforcement on a shed-built device wouldn't expect you to have done the more expensive testing, like EMC. They would still expect you to have followed the easily-checked requirements, like creepage, clearance, use of appropriate safety components, earthing metal cases, avoiding finger traps etc, and failing to do so could result in prosecution.

It doesn't matter if either of the above affixes a mark that looks like a CE mark but claims it meant something else - if the item doesn't meet the appropriate requirements, they have broken the law.

And if they do affix something that looks like the CE mark but claim it meant something else, they would immediately get done for "passing off", regardless of whether the device itself was bad.

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Richard 12
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Re: RCD

Yes, a Type A or B 30mA RCD would probably have saved her life.

She would still have got a very nasty shock, it just wouldn't have lasted for as long. One hopes that it would be short enough duration not to kill.

Here's a YouTube video that shows why these s****y little USB chargers are so bloody dangerous - published UK mere days before this tragic event:

The cheap s****y pink USB charger

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Richard 12
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Sadly, I am not surprised this happened

Having taken the covers off a few of these USB chargers, the "Oh my god this is going to kill somebody" has passed my lips more than once.

Maybe UK Trading Standards will now pay more attention to fake and dangerous electricals, instead of the pudding about with handbags that they seem so keen on.

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Richard 12
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Re: Single user PC database might be OK

I've found Access to be quite useful.

1) Get sent the data as stack of Excel spreadsheets

2) Import that data and build quick'n'dirty mockup in Access. Get most of the business logic agreed

3) Port to another database and front end

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Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Richard 12
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Anti-trust suit inbound...

Amazon also wants to dictate the price for the books industry-wide by forbidding suppliers from offering rival retailers lower prices.

I'm no lawyer, but that sounds very, very similar to the "most favoured nation" clause that got Apple into trouble over in the US.

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TIME TRAVEL TEST finds black holes needed to make photons flit

Richard 12
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So that's how Heisenberg compensators work

All we need now is a few CTCs and bingo, teleportation!

Of things you can stick well within the high-stress tidal areas of black holes.

We can teleport spaghetti!

Or rather, anything we teleport becomes spaghetti, just don't tell the test subject...

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YouTube in shock indie music nuke: We all feel a little less worthy today

Richard 12
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90% of anything is crap

It might even be more than 90%

Most of the music, books, games, software etc ever made are crap.

The fun part is that some of what I consider to be crap, someone else thinks is good.

As record labels are obviously "not me", and big labels contain large numbers of these "other people", you can't assume that they will find the good stuff.

A large label will try to pick the 0.1% that is most likely not to sit in most peoples "crap" set, but that isn't the same as picking most people's "really good"

The way to find "really good" is to find a few pundits who come close to not being "not you", and take their advice - and the pundits will do the same.

This method is also broken.

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British Gas Twitter account hijacked by mystery phishermen

Richard 12
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They aren't a national utility

British Gas is one of several private energy suppliers who perform billing and energy price abitrage services.

In this case they also do some gas extraction and home and commercial services such as plumbing and electrical installation, including service contracts.

I believe they are also a DynoRod reseller. They certainly have fingers in many pies!

The actual distribution of gas and electricity is done by National Grid.

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Traffic lights, fridges and how they've all got it in for us

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: ...of the term "the Internet of Things"

You want a DMX Shock Collar (PDF)

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Don't connect them to the internet directly

Lyne also tested a number of faults in home automation systems, using existing research. He says he managed to cause desk lamps to explode by exploiting weak control channels in power devices.

That one is definitely false. A desk-lamp sized power-control device simply cannot do that, no matter what commands you give it.

The absolute worst you can do is flash it as fast as the underlying power controller can do. In some cases that'll reduce the life of the lamp, but it can't explode because electricity does not work that way.

The only thing I can think of is perhaps he dimmed a non-dimmable transformer. That's no different to saying you "hacked" a diesel car by getting the owner to fill it with petrol.

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AMD details aggressive power-efficiency goal: 25X boost by 2020

Richard 12
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Re: When does it stop being the GPU?

A GPU is optimised for "Do one identical action to thousands of independent datasets"

A CPU is optimised for "Do thousands of different actions"

It's the difference between very large numbers of rather simple processors (GPU) and small numbers of very powerful processors (CPU).

Many common tasks would be ungodly slow on a GPU, and many are ungodly slow on a CPU.

There will always be a need for a mix of technologies.

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Adobe all smiles as beret bods spaff cash on non-cloud Creative Suite

Richard 12
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You what!??

What it DOESN'T tell you, however is that it needs to check in on a SPECIFIC day - the 23rd day of your monthly license period. It will then keep trying for 7 days (bringing it to the end of the 30-day cycle) and, if it hasn't been able to contact the internet, you get 5 days of grace and then BAM - no more Photoshop for you.

Adobe, you morons! That turns the Creative Cloud from an annoyance into something that many of your customers simply cannot use at all!

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Canada to Google: You can't have your borderless cake and eat it too

Richard 12
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Indeed.

Somebody is hosting that site, and they are either Datalink or somebody paid by Datalink.

Thus taking money from Datalink will shut it down.

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Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Richard 12
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Re: That about wraps it up for SpaceX

Rocket science is easy.

It's rocket engineering that's difficult, and right now the only people doing it are SpaceX, the ESA (Ariane) and the Russians (Soyuz and ULA).

If the engineering was that easy, why are the ULA buying their engines from Russia?

Nobody else is making the size of rocket engine needed to put tonnes into orbit.

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Nokia paid off extortionist in 2007: Finnish TV

Richard 12
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Re: Dane-geld

It sounds like that was the plan, but the cops screwed it up.

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Richard 12
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Re: Falling costs anyone?

RFID tags will always cost significantly more than barcodes.

Barcodes on packaged goods cost exactly zero pence per unit, as you're printing the packaging anyway and they only need one colour.

The two things an RFID can give you that a barcode doesn't are the ability to read without line-of-sight, and the ability to write.

Requiring line-of-sight is not expensive, and for a sell-once product, the ability to write to the tag is meaningless.

If you have expensive goods, RFID makes good sense, because you can spot the goods leaving the store. If you hire them out several times, even better - eg my local library does that with the books.

So the only useful bonus of RFID is the idea of a shop where you walk in, grab the things you need and walk straight out and get automatically billed.

In practice, this wouldn't save enough money to be cost effective for the kind of tiny-margin, low-cost goods you get from the staple-foods section of a supermarket.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: The internet of fridges

No RFID is completely and totally stupid for this.

The only things you need for this are much, much cheaper and are already used in some food dispensers and also the pick'n'place machines that made the PCBs in the computing equipment you're using to read this.

♳ Every shelf has an array of weight sensors.

♴ The fridge has an array of relatively high resolution cameras watching the shelves from several angles.

♵ Tracked foodstuff item packaging has a 2D barcode printed on it.

♶ The fridge then uses the cameras and 2D barcodes to identify the foodstuff, use-by date and 'full' and 'empty' weights of each item.

♷ The array of weight sensors then allows the fridge to figure out whether a given container is nearly empty, and the historical database indicates when a given type of item has gone completely.

In theory the existing 1D barcodes that are already on almost everything give nearly enough information - they identify rough product groups (not specific products as UPCs are expensive), which is probably good enough for most purposes as "500ml Muller yogurt" is usually enough, even if you don't know the flavour.

They don't include the use-by dates though.

(Excessively ornate bulletpoints included because the whole idea is excessively ornate)

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TIME TRAVELLERS needed to secure Windows 7

Richard 12
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It must be deliberate

I mean, making it progressively more difficult to install "old" versions of their operating system is a great way to push people towards their newest one.

Or at least it would be if the newest wasn't a pile of stinking tripe.

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Yet another reason to skip commercials: Microsoft ad TURNS ON your Xbox One

Richard 12
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Re: Something for the next firmware update

Won't work, because ultrasound isn't broadcastable and even if it were, TV speakers can't make it.

TV broadcasting standards limit the range of colours and sound frequencies to a rather small range, considerably smaller than a young human can see and hear.

They could do a piercing whistle, except they'd then be thrown off the networks for breaching other rules.

There's a reason why the signals to indicate advert insertion times used to be visual - ever notice black and white flashing dots before an ad break?

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Google calls on carriers to craft IoT plans

Richard 12
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Re: Will it scale?

No, there is no need for much, if any additional radio or data capacity.

Compare with Amazon Whispernet,upon which I'm writing this.

IoT devices should connect once or twice a day at most and send 100kB at most -probably much less. They are not always-on!

There is the addressing issue, but that should be easiy solved as yes, these devices do not need a phone number, merely a SIM/IMEI

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Ofcom's campaign against termination rates continues

Richard 12
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Thumb Up

Re: Noooo!

No, this is a great thing.

Most landlines don't offer any way of identifying the caller beforehand, while every mobile phone has "Caller ID".

Almost nobody answers an unexpected "number withheld" call, thus cold-callers will have to start providing a caller-id, making them easier to trace. Furthermore, if they spoof the ID of another company, they can be done for fraud.

And if they start calling too much, somebody will make an app to blackhole them. Or toy with them...

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