* Posts by Mike 16

170 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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SIM hack scandal biz Gemalto: Everything's fine ... Security industry: No, it's really not

Mike 16

2G only?

That's OK, IIRC, one of the effects of a Stingray is to force all the phones in its vicinity to fall back to 2G.

See, Govt. agencies _can_ work together.

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Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Mike 16

Re: Sir Oliver Lodge

So, how do you feel about "Branly Coherers"? Seems to me Lodge invented them, too.

The whole notion that the person who prevails in patent court (or gets something named for them) is the Inventor (aka Solitary Genius) is hogwash.

Meanwhile, as I can't be arsed to write another comment, I find it amusing, in a Gallows Humour way, that Strowger was trying to make "lookup" more honest by mechanizing it. Tell that to folks who have been mislead by "algoritthmic" search results, or had their ISP diddle DNS.

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Apple: Fine, we admit it – MacBook Pros suffer wonky GPU crapness

Mike 16

Re: Not the first time

Indeed. Same problem occurred with the "Dual USB iBook" and followon iBook G4. These were the last of the iBook line, being somewhat of a transition between the original "Space Clam" form factor to something a bit more corporate. Lots of discussion in the forums about DIY fixes involving hot-air guns, torches, and tea-lights.

As for the "defective solder", I have to wonder if that's just the typical crap we now are saddled with to avoid lead (and connections that have a service life over 3 years)

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Are you ready to ditch the switchboard and move to IP telephony?

Mike 16

Not to worry

As geezers who remember voice quality die off, they are replaced by young-uns who have only ever used mobiles and VOIP, so are quite used to dropouts and Dalek-voice. Of course, they have also mostly gotten used to texting rather than talking anyway. Voice communication is a losing battle. Sure, you'll see pockets of resistance, like the codgers who remember real bread and beer, but like i said, time will fix this.

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Proposed US law could deal knockout blow to FBI in overseas cloud privacy ding-dongs

Mike 16

As Perry Mason would say

"Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence".

Specifically the assumption that US LEAs give a shit about obeying the law themselves.

Or should I go with the New Orleans madam in regard to outlawing prostitution:

"They can make it illegal, but they'll never make it unpopular".

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Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

Mike 16

Register Pot, meet Samsung Kettle

As has been happening more and more lately, this article was partially obscured by an ad (served by Google, allegedly) that could not be closed. The little 'X' box just swapped out the ad for a "tell us why you don't like this", but clicking "ad covers page" just restored the previous state.

Tend to the beam in thine own eye, Reg.

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Kill Facebook's creepy on-by-default Yelp 'killer' Place Tips – your guide

Mike 16

the app won't broadcast your location on the news feed

Yet.

FTFY.

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2014 in infosec: Spammers sneak small botnets under the wire, Java is dull

Mike 16

Silverlight

Doesn't Netflix still default to Silverlight? Not that anybody would ever think of targeting Netflix users, but unlike Java plugins that (as noted above) are typically disabled, I'd expect that Silverlight is enabled by default on a lot of computers.

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Latest menace to internet economy: Gators EATING all the PUSSIES

Mike 16

IP infringement

The snake hasn't a leg to stand on.

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Mr President, is this a war on hackers – or a war on people stopping hackers?

Mike 16

Crackers

Are something else in the US. Most of them are Republicans these days.

As for "racketering", that's an all-purpose enhancement to strip the defendant (even in a civil suit) of anything they might use to hire a lawyer.

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

Mike 16

Re: Seikosha GP-80

Thank you! I saw (heard) that shrieking wonder at a CES in the 80s, and nobody seems to believe me when I tell them about it. "Surely nobody would be so daft!".

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Mock choc shock: 3D candy printer is good news for sweet-toothed swingbellies

Mike 16

Typical time to market for 3D Printing

I recall reading of an IBM "wax spitter" rapid-prototyping system which printed a nice IBM logo in chocolate, over 15 years ago. Of course, I remember capability-based operating systems and usable, context-sensitive help systems for computers back in the 1970s as well. I guess the developers that will bring them to market are still backlogged on the flying cars.

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Alien Earths are out there: Our home is not 'unique'

Mike 16

Re: The final step

"God does not place dice with the Universe" - Einstein

"He does, however, enjoy Billiards" - Velikovsky

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Kodak fires a Bullitt at oldsters with 3G mobe launch

Mike 16

Getting pics off the phone

Has become more difficult with every generation, at least from Verizon. At first one could mount the phone as a USB drive and just copy them off. Next model required a not-so-functional "special" app. Next one disabled USB access entirely (to come back with the iPhone/iTunes, see "not-so-functional special app"), but forgot to hobble Bluetooth OBEX. Then they "fixed" that. There is no technical reason to make it that hard. Just making sure you pay for every pixel and the TLAs see every pic.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are

Mike 16

A serious Meccano addiction

can lead to http://www.meccano.us/

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FCC to smack Sprint with $105m fine over 'cramming' – report

Mike 16

Not surprised

Back in the day (80's or 90's) my employer's Telcom manager caught them loading up our bill with bogus long-distance charges. I guess they hadn't noticed that some of the new PBXs logged all calls.

Of course, they promptly removed the offending charges. I still have to wonder what happened to other customers with less-paranoid managers.

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FCC says taxpayer-bankrolled bumpkin broadband must be at least 10Mbps

Mike 16

10Mbps?

Is that actual, measurable, consistent 10Mbps, or Comcast-style "Up to 10Mbps" which is more of a "speed of light" (guaranteed not to exceed) number? I have very rarely seen more than half the claimed bandwidth from Comcast, and never for more than a few seconds.

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This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

Mike 16

NO CONSERVATIVES?

Then who passed Prop 8?

And who keeps Prop 13, the "move all property tax burden from businesses to homeowners" rule alive? Incidentally also the "funnel all taxes, even local ones, through Sacramento where they can be 'carefully vetted' i.e. skimmed and doled out to friends and family" rule.

OK, the "Make college so crappy/expensive that diploma mills funded by enormous student loans look good" plan is partly driven by DiFi's hubby, but to think Big Ag, banks, and megacorps don't have the dominant power here is nuts. Well, them and the prison-guard union. Yeah, shameless Liberals, right?

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DNA egghead James Watson sells Nobel prize for $4.8m, gets it back

Mike 16

Re: Interesting case.

Perhaps if you read more detailed history about that time you would have a more nuanced view. Most of what we get in school is based on propaganda from the protestant princes who were miffed at the pope meddling in their right to subjugate their own people. Not that the pope's hand were clean, but essentially, this was a power struggle and truth was the first victim as usual (followed by masses of peasants, of course). Much like the "political correctness" cudgel is so readily deployed in the battle against "people who don't vote (or look) like me". Well, one side of that battle. The other side uses the "Evil Corporations" cudgel.

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Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

Mike 16

Re: CAn't see this doing too well in court.

It would be fascinating to see the software update that would enable WiFi on my cable modem, since it has no physical radios. Not to say that Comcast are either devils or saints (does that cover my ass libel-wise?), but using their router, rather than just their modem, has been a very bad idea for a very long time.

(Yes, I am aware of the hacks to play music over AM radios by carefully orchestrated access to core memories, back in the day, but that was Tx only, and the bandwidth was very low, even by Comcast standards)

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Plusnet customers SWAMPED by spam but BT-owned ISP dismisses data breach claims

Mike 16

At least they have a complaint process

that can be used electronically. When Adobe gave my custom email address to a pron-spammer, less than an hour after I registered one of their products, I found that the only way to file a complaint was via paper mail sent to a legal firm care of a P.O. Box in Los Angeles, Note that when faced with this sort of thing it is recommended to send such mail "Certified, return-receipt-requested" or it will somehow be lost in transit, unlike the tsunami of physical spam I regularly receive. Clearly the Post Office is much more careful with Bulk mail than first-class.

Of course, I have no doubt Plusnet simply ignores complaints, but Adobe makes it abundantly clear up front that they do not want to hear from you about anything, now that the payment has cleared.

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UK computing museum starts reboot of 65-year-old EDSAC

Mike 16

Re: Symbolic machine code

> Neither EDSAC nor Argus had floating point hardware, so for science and engineering calculations you had to understand scaled fraction arithmetic. Not many people did.

Not many people understand floating point to this day, but that doesn't stop them from programming stuff that depends on that understanding. Von Neumann considered F.P. suspect, at least initially, and his similar dismissal of "computing" "random numbers" is oddly apt today, as such things as the gaffed eliptic curves are made known.

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Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search

Mike 16

Blekko?

Has nobody else noticed that there actually exist "search engines" that are neither Google nor Bing under the hood? Wake up, Mr. Van Winkle.

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Super-villains of C sought for WORLD CONQUEST plan

Mike 16

Execute floats?

One of the neat features of the (several) Fortran compilers for the CDC6600 was "backgrounding" of otherwise un-initialized memory to words that were all of:

Instruction to HALT

Illegal floating-point values

indicators of their address.

So attempting to execute them or use them in floating point operations would generally "come to the attention" of the system, and help to deduce where it went off the rails.

Of course, there is nothing in the C standards that prohibits (somewhat more) typesafe or boundary-checked implementations of C, but the vast majority of implementations allow, if not actually promote, unsafe behavior in the interest of "portability" or "legacy code".

It doesn't help that (less now than a few decades ago), the use of C by talented and careful folks to build impressive software led to a "I'm using C, I must be a Code Ninja" attitude among the willfully ignorant of things like "design first, code later"

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Post-PC era? PAH! Apple says Macs OUTSOLD iPads in Q4

Mike 16

Stifling that sales boom

Indeed. While currently there are reasons to buy a Mac rather than an iPad, they have been diminishing with each release since Lion. As the Mac becomes ever more locked down and yet somehow less secure, the distance between the two narrows. Plus, of course, they are really trying to get Mac users on a "three years old is total rubbish, better replace it" treadmill, without hiding that upgrade cost in a phone contract.

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City council thinks what we're all thinking: 'Comcast is terrible – and NOT welcome here'

Mike 16

At least the French tended to name stuff after what is there.

Such as "Grand Tetons"?

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Credit card cutting flaw could have killed EVERY AD on Twitter

Mike 16

Trusting Data you send to users?

So, let me get this straight, Twitter uses easily guessable URLs in a small namespace to carry information that they just _assume_ the user/client has not messed with?

Reminds me of the days when the power company would send out actual IBM cards with your account number and amount due (with "Do not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate" printed on the face, of course), and _some_ folks would "X-punch" the amount before returning the card with their payment. Just be careful not to run up too much credit.

Not that I would ever do such a thing. Oh, no, I'm just too honest and anyway not that old. Grandpa told me that story as a cautionary tale about trusting data that comes back into the system. Yeah, that's what he said.

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Yawn, Wikileaks, we already knew about FinFisher. But these software binaries...

Mike 16

BSD

Remind me again what kernel underlies OSX and IOS (not the Cisco one)?

Not that I really disagree, since this almost certainly targets stuff well above the kernel. Stuff that has moved on since Next essentially forked Mach/BSD.

Actually, it would be interesting if they targeted the Cisco IOS, since there are many of them, running over top of, e.g. QNX as well as Bare Iron.

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YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess

Mike 16

Re: Cautious Clicker

If ElReg offered a (decent priced) ad-free subscription, i'd seriously consider it. The auto-play loud videos are getting to me, but I also feel I "owe" the site as a whole some eyeball time.

Alas, I am old enough to remember when Cable TV was touted as Ad-free, high-quality programming for pennies a day, and we all know how that turned out: "Dear Mike16, we know that you value our content and do not mind at all the 90% of your bandwidth dedicated to bringing you important offers, but you may be interested in our Platinum Reader subscription that will serve only the most profitable^Wcrucial notices, for the extremely reasonable price of $400/month"

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US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale

Mike 16

Lease versus buy

Well, they could always take the tack they did with Native Americans, granting title "As long as the sun shines and the rivers flow". So sorry about dam construction and nightfall, you're outa here.

As for "cui bono?", at least from my (hilly area in California) viewpoint, OTA is already pretty dicey, but I'm a little surprised about broadcasters position. As far as I can tell, they have a gravy train with cable saddled with fees to carry "must carry" channels. The way I expect them to go eventually is a single multiplex with about 10 watts xmit, just so they can claim to be OTA, while forcing everybody not on their block to pay for everything, via the cablecos. As it is, Comcast has interpreted "must carry" to countenance "must carry HD content but it's OK to downsample to 480i unless the punter coughs up another $15/mo", and the FCC has apparently agreed.

As an old fart, I remember when broadcasters lobbied against the very idea of CATV, while advocates argued that it would usher in a wealth of high-quality TV with no advertising. Remind me how that's working out?

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Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer

Mike 16

Accuracy, or rather coupling "noise"

A similar comment was made by Jerry Lichac, the designer of the Atari TrakBall (tm). His point was in regard to the three-point suspension (later used in virtually every mechanical mouse). Critics of the concept said that the control would be unusable because the idler at 45 degrees to the measured axes would couple some X into Y and vice-versa. His contention (later proven correct) was that the user will be observing the cursor, not the ball, so will naturally correct for any (slight) coupling.

BTW: He also prototyped a haptic trackball for Marble Madness (lit, even), but it was judged too expensive for production.

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Pop-up ad man: SORRY we made such a 'hated tool', netizens

Mike 16

Pop-Unders are worse

Although Xroach is clearly prior art.

And how about those _LOUD_ auto-playing video ads that ElReg serves us?

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WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

Mike 16

Re: STFU bitches, In the US, you don't get a firewall/router

You say that as if there is something wrong with having control of your own LAN. Comcast (my ISP) can't even keep their nameservers lit. Buying and configuring my own router is a minor hassle compared to those morons controlling the traffic between my computer and my printer. Of course I am the sort who used to build networking gear, and who would really rather own my own DOCSIS modem, if only Comcast would stop playing games to encourage perpetual rental.

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Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Mike 16

Thus it ever was

i was a (minor) part of an attempt in the early 1970s to have the vote-counting software for the U.C. Berkeley Academic Senate audited by a third-party group of security professionals. We failed, of course. The reason given was essentially the same as this case. Why any sane person thinks these schemes are a good idea, or promote democracy is beyond me.

I suspect that any Athenian who wanted to check that the voting urns were empty before the vote were similarly derided.

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Mike 16

Liberal Democrats

I thought, as a long-time reader of El Reg (and the Economist) that I understood the difference in definition of "Liberal" between the UK and the US, but even the most "just to the left of Ayn Rand" definition would seem to disqualify them from that word. As for "Democrat", well the US Dems have already pretty much bleached that of all meaning. But did the LibDems ever live up to the dictionary meaning of their name, or are they more like the typical "People's Democratic Workers Paradise" that we should all hope never to find ourselves in?

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Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

Mike 16

Ball Valve

One word: RISUG (OK, one acronym)

I'm sure Reg Readers know how to decrypt that.

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Mike 16

Holy Carp!

It's basically a nano-coherer. Well, several billion of them. On a chip.

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US Marshals seek buyer for Silk Road's Bitcoin

Mike 16

Re: Why is it ironic?

"These are Silk Road coins. ". Exactly. They are equivalent to the briefcase full of cash seized in the near vicinity of two people and a similar briefcase full of drugs. The best possible outcome (still bad) if you are one of those people is to claim you have never seen either case before.

"The coins found in possession of Ross William Ulbricht will be dealt with after trial." Probably, but there are plenty of cases where a person has been acquitted of the alleged crime yet unable to "prove their innocence" sufficiently to get their property back. So the trial will be a mere formality.

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Remember Control Data? The Living Computer Museum wants YOU

Mike 16

Dancing Lines

I would love to get a copy/scan of that printout, even one page. All my printouts from the CDC501 seem to have gone missing, and I'd love to have a comparison for when "kids these days" wonder what was such a big deal with the 1403, which only profs and grads with funded research were allowed to use. (email to the printer model mentioned above at nulli.us, please. It's a nonce account for this purpose)

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Mike 16

Re: Too modern.

The 3800 came out a year after the 6600, and the same year(1965) as the IBM1130 and CDC6400. IIRC, both of the 6x00 (and more) were re-badged as "Cyber" a bit later. If we are going all Yorkshiremen, I've used two different computers with tubes/valves, not counting the bottles in the 6x00 console.. But I do recall the 6400 fondly.

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

Mike 16

Re: Flies Over the Great Wall

A series of unfortunate accidents will befall any location sporting a suitable antenna dish.

These are not, AFAICT, SatPhones like Iridium. More like the pirate TV dishes favored in some US-allied countries in the middle east. Even if the powers that be don't immediately destroy your dish, they will make a note who and where you are.

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The hoarder's dilemma: 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

Mike 16

Why is it the junk that hangs on?

I still have all five Atari-800s (courtesy of Garage-cleaning friends), but have not seen my box of Magneto-restrictive delay lines (Surplus from RADAR MTI units) in years. Just went looking for a miniUSB cable, with which the house was once infested. None to be found. Worse is running across my "spare" BSA Goldstar transmission, about 15 years after selling the Goldstar. No, you can't have it. Gave it and a Panther engine to a fellow who actually wanted them, a year or so later.

BTW: Best use of AOL CDs? A friend made himself a plausible "Fish scale" suit of armor from them.

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Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

Mike 16

Re: For added irony, on the story's page

I try to be a "kind reader" and leave the ads un-blocked, but any day now the new habit of auto-play video ads at full volume is going to push me over the edge. Worse, they don't just auto-play right when I load so I can turn them off. No, they spurt little bits of random audio so I'm not sure what's happening or what to silence. Even, I think, when I've shifted to another tab. FFX 29.0.1 MacBook Air, OS 10.8.5, if a Reg IT-boffin cares to check it out.

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Four-pronged ARM-based Mac rumor channels Rasputin

Mike 16

Misc Musings

First off, the silliness. If you think an iPad is a fully capable replacement for a MacBook, you must not edit many Makefiles. Paying extra for a TAB key just enrages some folks.

Some history. A friend worked at Apple back in the day, and his group produced a IIGS followon that was ARM based. Ran all existing (6502-based) IIGS code. Snappier GUI than the then-current Macs, cheaper, oops! So it was "gassed".

If you-all think that "just re-compile" is so easy, and Apple so supremely competent at re-targetting their software to new platforms, perhaps you can explain why their special flavor of X was so badly broken by the transition to x86? This was software that had run either (and even "cross") endian for over a decade and they managed to introduce rookie endian-bugs. Not to mention that even when they went from 68000 to 68020 they managed to stumble over the "let's just stick some unrelated flags in the upper byte of these pointers" bug that had bedeviled the 360->370 transition, again, a decade before.

Not to say it won't happen. They may be able to hire someone less Laurel-and-Hardy to do software (for a change). And the move to their own ARM SOC would indeed be a master-stroke for "you will get all your software via iTunes/App-store, and will update when we punch the button, and will not whimper or your device will die", which is so clearly the path forward.

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Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Mike 16

Expectations

@Michael Hawkes:

Are you expecting children to already know how to design processors, PCBs, etc., before they go to college?

Not many, but some. There were a few of us "designing" processors on paper and chalkboard back in the day (mid 1960s), with heated discussions over the economic benefits of dynamic logic versus the higher reliability of such things a dual-rank shift registers. Of course we didn't _build_ anything, what with transistors being a couple bucks apiece and even tubes being out of the question in the quantities required. Not saying we were "average" or even "normal", but we did exist, as do "kids today" who can field-strip an Arduino and do unanticipated things with it. Some have geek-parents (mine were a secretary/bookkeeper and an auto mechanic), some find their own way. I do concur that most schools exist to quench the spark, rather than the thirst.

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Spanish village of 'Kill the Jews' votes for rebrand

Mike 16

May I have the Popcorn concession...

When someone actually proposes to revert the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance and the currency to remove the edits adding "Under God" and"In God We trust"? Or going back 2000 years or so to put back The Nativity to a more plausible date, rather that the Roman edit aligning it with the birth of the sun god?

How about a proposal to remove Mohamed from the decoration for SCOTUS? I can imagine the strange bedfellows. Some wanting no indication that a "Heathen" could have anything to do with laws, the other resenting the blasphemy of an image of the Prophet.

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'I found the whole idea of an alien very exciting until it demanded all of my weed'

Mike 16

Heroine?

I like my strong female characters as much as the next man, but really don't think genuine ones can be purchased.

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Robotics pioneer: Intelligent machines are 'scary for a lot of people'

Mike 16

Re: We're headed for Sirius Cybernetics, probably...

This is just too good to pass up.

In fact exactly those two languages were involved in something that happened to one of my daughter's friends. He was taking a conversational Italian class in preparation for traveling to Italy. When he noticed that the ATMs in his neighborhood (a traditionally Italian one) offered Italian as a language choice, he selected it, and the card/system "remembered". Ah, but the I.T. angle is that it apparently did not remember the language chosen, but some sort of "index into the language table" A week or so later, across town, he was startled to have the ATM messages in Polish.

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EFF blows Snapchat a raspberry in gov't surveillance report

Mike 16

Re: The internet Archive was ranked?

The requests might be about someone stupid enough to look at a lot of formerly presumed legal stuff, while logged in or from a unique, stable IP. Yeah, they _could_ get that from their taps, but still.

As for LinkedIn, "social networks" (in the pre-friendster sense) are always interesting to spooks. I once got email from a former co-worker looking for another former co-worker. The "target" was an ex-VP, not my social stratum, and I didn't have him in my contacts, and said so. A few days later he emails again: "found him, in prison. Aggravated assault." Imagine that today. Imagine being on the "known associates" list for someone "They" don't like.

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Traffic light vulns leave doors wide open to Italian Job-style hacks

Mike 16

User-modified traffic controls

Back in th 1970s, my hometown paved an old rail right-of-way to provide extra lanes on the main road out of town. This was nearly pointless, as the next town over had already sold their portion for development, so a choke-point was created. Anyway, in addition to the widening came spiffy new traffic lights. After a few weeks of motorist frustration, the control box for the lights exploded. Many of us thought that this was the work of a Motorist Liberation Front, but it turned out to be that the construction crew had damaged a gas main, and the slow leak had followed the path of least resistance into the box, where a spark from the contactors had ignited it.

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