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* Posts by Rich 2

138 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

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Slapdash SSL code puts tons of top Android Play Store apps in hack peril

Rich 2

Approval needed

My strong guess is that Apple's approval process consists mostly of making sure there's nothing in the app that will impact Apple's bottom line. Everything else, and that definitely includes security and privacy is very much secondary.

Disclaimer: I have an iThingie. Ooo-errrr!

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NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS

Rich 2

And squirrels!

...though in true NASA fashion, they try and ignore that bit...

http://www.zdnet.com/was-a-squirrel-discovered-on-mars-7000016191/

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

Rich 2

What SHOULD Microsoft call its browser?

Shite?

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London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

Rich 2

Jolly good work.

It's good to see our no bobbies engaged in top crime prevention. None of that soft stuff like people being beaten up or killed or raped or kidnapped or kept in the cellar (ooo... that reminds me) etc etc etc. NO! Downloading stuff over a length of cable is where the REAL crime is.

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Linux users at risk as ANOTHER critical GnuTLS bug found

Rich 2

Re: Open source - crap code

"...if and when you see bad code that you're getting for free, if you are able to judge its badness and can fix it, you should submit a patch"

That should keep me busy for the next thousand years :-) It's rather difficult to submit a "patch" when (a) the code is incomprehensible in the first place and (b) the "patch" would consist of "delete all lines from 1 onwards and replace with this".

"Where did you get this expectation of getting millions of lines of perfect code for free?"

I never said I did. And just because it's free is no justification for it being crap. Do you think that if you're writing code commercially that you should do it properly, but if you're planning on giving it away for free that you are duty-bound to make a hash of it?

And I can't comment on the Firefox or Postgresql codebase but I can say that some of the Linux kernel code is awful; especially some of the driver stuff.

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Rich 2

Open source - crap code

It is an unfortunate truth but a lot (I'll not say "most" even though I think it is justified) open source code is, quite frankly crap. Oh yes, it works. And a lot of it works very well. But if you actually look at the code (and relatively very few people ever do), you will find 99% of the time that it is very badly written, often full of random "goto", "break", and "return" statements, virtually totally uncommented, and generally a very sloppy mess apparently written by someone without the first clue about software design. This all leads to code that, although in theory "anyone can look at and change if they want", in reality "it'll make your head spin trying to understand what the f*** is going on and you will eventually give up".

I don't know why code quality is such a non-existent priority for many people, and I've definitely seen my fair share of it in the commercial world too, but it seems to be, and this contributes in a big way to why even really obvious bugs go unnoticed for years. The other reason is that nobody actually bothers to look.

Of course, there are exceptions; there is open source code out there that is well written and understandable. But it is VERY few and far between.

I will, of course, get modded down for this, but I question the justification for that; I firmly believe and stand by this assessment.

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

Rich 2

@Nigel 11

Your comment makes no sense at all. Are you saying C DOES have bagage or not?

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Rich 2

...without the bagage of C

What "baggage"? C is one of the most simple and sparse languages there has ever been. That's why it works.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Rich 2

Well, yes... What did you expect?

While the author has my sympathy, I'm somewhat amazed that he seems surprised by the whole episode.

I mean, isn't it obvious? Having to be permanently connected to a remote system just make some stuff work locally? What could possibly go wrong? Oh yes - I know - network outage, system glitches, power failure, supplier incompetence, security failures, forgetting to pay the bill.....

A centralised server is all very well in an office, but over the internet? It just isn't and can't be reliable enough. Why anyone uses this "Cloud" thing is byond me

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Who fancies a billion-quid bonanza? Just flog the Home Office some shiny walkie-talkies

Rich 2
Mushroom

OMFG!!!!

See you all in a couple of years then when we can all discuss why the costs have risen to 5 billion and the thing STILL doesn't work.

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UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity

Rich 2

Being bonkers doesn't make you wrong

Whatever your thoughts about the various people that post and pursue this sort of stuff, NASA do have an incredibly long and undistinguished record when it comes to ignoring the bleedin' obvious or (more usually), the bleedin' "what the fuck is that?".

There are zillions of photos of stuff from Mars and the moon, and elsewhere that if you saw them on Earth you would not hesitate to wander over and take a better look. If you just take a quick look at Scott Waring's web site, and ignore the commentary, it's quite difficult to ignore that some of the photos definitely look "odd" or unnatural, and any sane person with an ounce of curiosity would look closer.

Of course, "wandering over" isn't so easy on another planet, but even so, NASA have been incredibly good at ignoring stuff that any normal person would be killing themselves to take a better look at. Instead, they would rather spend weeks and months (years?) coming up with strange explanations for stuff.

I saw a cartoon many years ago of a chap from NASA and some other guy. The second chap was jumping up and down and pointing at an alien. The chap from NASA had his fingers in his ears and his eyes tightly shut. Seems bizarrely accurate.

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Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES

Rich 2

So close....

Seagate says its neat new drive can be used for:

hyperscale applications,.........bla bla......

Centralised surveillance.

DAMN! I wanted to use it for keeping some Word documents and MP3s on - guess I'll have to look elsewhere :(

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OkCupid falls out of love with 'anti-gay' Firefox, tells people to see other browsers

Rich 2

1984 Thought Police

This is nothing short of the Thought Police. You do not agree with me therefore you are evil and must be eliminated. At the considerable risk of having the Thought Police come down on me (not that I give a stuff), it's the same thing that happens when anyone criticises Israel (that's anti-Jewish apparently), or dares to make an aeroplane seat that won't accommodate a 50 stone person who got that way by eating him/herself stupid (that's anti-"larger people" apparently), or taking a dislike to the people who parked up in their caravans in a field on the edge of the village and after being told that it was private land and they shouldn't be there, promptly stuck one of the villager's chickens to the ground with a pitch fork (that's anti-"traveller" apparently - and yes, I lived in that village).

I'm not comparing gay marriage with some c**t that murders chickens, but it seems whenever there is any sound of decent at all that goes against "what you SHIOULD think" it is immediately pounced on (idiots with megaphones), legislated against (it must be racist or something - MUST be!), and generally shouted-down until the voice is quelled.

What a fucked-up society we live in.

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US to strengthen privacy rights for Euro bods' personal data transfers

Rich 2

Yea, I know we've been naughty, but we're sorry and you can trust us now. Honest

Oh. Well, that's ok then.

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GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

Rich 2

Nope

"For example, imagine you want a shortcut..... All you need to do is edit the application's desktop file...define a "Desktop Action", ...Save your file in ~/.local/share/applications and you're done."

Yep - it's easy for me. But I think this highlights why my gran will never ever use Gnome (or anything Unixy/Linuxy for that matter). These devs STILL don't get it, do they?

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ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

Rich 2

Ooooo

So, how long is its year then? I'm guessing, quite a long time.

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EE...K: Why can't I uninstall carrier's sticky 'Free Games' app?

Rich 2

Re: "Just don’t let them spot you buying a Vodafone SIM card."

Not without taking a pair of cutters to it (new phone is an iPhone) and the new phone/contract (with the new number) has some goodies with it that the old one doesn't and of course that's tied to the SIM/number.

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Rich 2

"Just don’t let them spot you buying a Vodafone SIM card."

Except that is exactly the advice I have been given by EE in order to transfer the phone number from one phone (still in contract with them) to a new phone (also with EE) that my wife bought me for my birthday. Apparently, it is "not possible" (ie - there is no UK law forcing them to do it), and the only way I can achive this is to get a pay-as-you-go SIM (from someone like Vodafone), transfer the number to that, and then transfer it back to EE (to my new phone).

It's a %&$*ing joke.

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MEEELLIONS of unloved iPhone 5Cs gather dust in warehouses – report

Rich 2

I like mine

I'm typing this on my 5c. I have no complaints about it at all. Got it relatively cheap with a good (by mobile provider standards) deal and it's great. Yep ir's plastic. But so is my TV. And half my car probably. It's still a solid bit of kit and very light.

The only thing that annoys me is that i can't get any music on easily because the required version of itunes won't run on my PPC Mac. But that's Apple for you!

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Collective SSL FAIL a symptom of software's cultural malaise

Rich 2

Yuk!

The syle of the code in question is awful. Shite even. I'm sure it was acceptable 30 years ago when it was probably written, but really.

Using "goto"? Nil points (and using break within a while loop is just as bad by the way)

Not using braces in a condition block? Nil points.

Assigning within an if() clause? Nil points.

This is a fantastic example of how to write a really poorly structured piece of code. No wonder the fault was never spotted.

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10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

Rich 2

Re: waas

Doesn't WAAS only work in N America? It relies on fixed ground stations to do the calculations and more satellites to distribute the corrections

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Army spaffed MILLIONS up the wall on flawed Capita online recruiting system - report

Rich 2

How much?

I am always amazed at headlines like this - I mean, just HOW do you spend 15 million quid on a computer system? I could have put together a team to do this for a tiny fraction of the price and still have enough to retire on and go and live in the Bahamas.

I wouldn't even know where to start spending that kind of cash - I think I would have to insist all the kit was gold plated with diamond-encrusted chips or something like, just to come close.

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'BILLION-YEAR DISK' to help FUTURE LIFEFORMS study us

Rich 2

Legacy

Bearing in mind what a complete fuck-up we humans are making of the planet, of being demonstrably unable to live with each other (never mind with any other species) in peace and harmony, and our general lack of responsibility for ...well ...anything, I can't help thinking that the best legacy we could leave any following civilisations would be to disappear quietly and take our rather unhealthy culture with us.

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Rich 2

Quite agree

Quite agree - it's not really difficult at all. It doesn't make sense, but it's not difficult.

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Fancy knocking off early? Just run our fake computer crash 'virus', say admen

Rich 2

Brilliant!!!

Love it.

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iCan't quite hear you: Apple teams up with Danish firm to make hearing aids

Rich 2

Marg'ret!!!

A "noise cancelling hearing aid".

So.... a hearing aid that ...errr ...cancels out noise? That's be the "noise" that you're trying to hear, yes???

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NO! Radio broadcasters snub 'end of FM' DAB radio changeover

Rich 2

Actually, I think you'll find that your "huge power-hungry box that takes up one corner of the room" consumes much LESS power than your "slick, [power-hungry] flat-panel"

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GIMP flees SourceForge over dodgy ads and installer

Rich 2

Sourceforge

I dunno if it has changed recently but I've always struggled to download ANYTHING from Sourceforge; most of the time I just can't find the "download" page!

I fully accept that I'm probably being thick, but it just isn't obvious to me.

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COFFEE AND DANISH HELL: National ID system cockup forces insecure Java on Danes

Rich 2

Oh dear

A sage lesson for any other gov who think about introducing a similar scheme. Not that they'll take any notice of course

What's that? Putting all our eggs in one basket you say? Nah, it'll be FINE...

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NHS tears out its Oracle Spine in favour of open source

Rich 2

Re: Variety is the spice of life

It does seem a rather complex and disjointed collection of stuff to use.

And, is Python (or indeed any interpreted language) really a good choice for something of this size? I'll admit, I've never used Python so I don't know what it is capable of, but unless you can compile it down to native code (and maybe you can, I dunno), it doesn't seem right.

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Web Daddy Berners-Lee DRMs HTML5 into 2016

Rich 2

Re: Over my cold dead browser

...and maybe that's the point.

Where do the main browser makers sit on this? If they don't include DRM support in their browsers then it doesn't matter a hoot what the spec says. If they do, then we're all dooooooomed!!!!

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Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates

Rich 2

4K -> HD/SD

So, if you take your 4K video, and re-sample it down to something more sensible like normal HD, or even DVD SD quality (which is still absolutely fine for most people) then that will blat the watermark, and you'll STILL have a decent quality pitated copy of the vid.

The thing is, 4K isn't really of any practical advantage except in a cinima. Yea, I'm sure it looks stunning on 80" telly, but I don't know anyone with a 4K-capable 80" TV, so it's irrelevant, and most people can't tell the difference between SD and HD, so 4K is waaaay out thee in terms of pointless.

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British Gas robo home remote gets itself into hot water

Rich 2

Not cool - cold!

A friend of my wife just moved house and found that the heating system was one of these things.

The house was freezing and she couldn't switch the heating on. So she called British Gas who told her that they were very sympathetic to her turning blue but they couldn't give her access to her heating control until the previous owner gave them permission to do so!!

It's since been sorted, but I can't help thinking there is a small flaw in this plan.

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Rich 2

French?

"Earth will eventually end up speaking an unholy mix of English, Chinese Mandarin and Spanish – with a soupçon of Portuguese, Russian, Hindi and Javanese thrown in for good measure"

How annoyed do you think the French will be? They'll probably pass a law to make the list illegal.

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Think your smutty Snapchats can't be saved by dorks? THINK AGAIN

Rich 2

Ill?

"Snap save is going to ruin a lot of girls lives"

...because "a lot of girls" have some mental problem that forces them to send pics of their tits to all their friends??

I'm just trying to understand, but I'm struggling.

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Hey, you know Android apps can 'access ALL' of your Google account?

Rich 2

Google

I wish someone would produce an Android phone that didn't have all the Google stuff in it.

I only ever use Google for search and occasional mapping stuff. I simply do not trust Gmail, or GCloud (or whatever they call it) or GSpy. Unfortunately, Android doesn't seem to get this and assumes you're happy to hand over your entire life to Google. No different to Apple, of course, but that doesn't make it right.

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Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Rich 2

Re: ARRRGGGGG!!!!!!

There's nothing contorted about if()...

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Rich 2
Flame

ARRRGGGGG!!!!!!

MACROS??? They are the devil's work.

I know of only a couple of (arguably) legitimate uses of macros - defining constants, and defining log and assert macros that you may wish to redefine and compile-out for production builds. Anything else is an abhorrence.

As for the curly bracket debate, I agree with what most people are saying. having the opening brace on the same line as the 'if' just makes reading the code more difficult than it needs to be. I hate it. Oh, and ALL conditionals should be followed by a block ({...}), even if they are just one-liners.

As for "goto" - You're kidding, yes?

...and while we're at it, all functions have precisely one entry point. They should have only one exit point (at the end).

if (...) return;

....is awful. It breaks the flow of the code, it's ugly, it's just not bloody-well British!!!

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So, who here LURVES Windows Phone? Put your hands up, Brits

Rich 2

Windows Phone

From what I've seen of it, I actually quite like the user interface of the Windows phone - it does seem genuinely new and quite clever.

Unfortunately, it's Microsoft (*), and for that reason alone I simply can not bring myself to buy one.

(*) - ie - it'll crash, it'll be unrealiable, after 6 months it will start grinding to a halt, it will be everything that 'windows' is. I accept that my assessment may well be completely false, but that still won't change my mind, and I suspect I'm not alone in that. MS have screwed-up just too many times.

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Nominet resurrects second-level namespace plan: 'Before you say no...'

Rich 2

Competition?

"We believe this is the right step to safeguard the long-term relevance of the .uk namespace in the face of unprecedented competition"

Eh? So, if I want a UK domain name (because I live in the UK), I might consider getting an Australian one instead ...because it's cheaper? (I don't actually know if it is or not, but you get the point, I'm sure). Or may be a Norwegian domain is cooler? Obviously, I don't want a .com because the US gov will take it off me at a whim.

But anyway, what IS this "competion" she talks about?

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What's the most secure desktop operating system?

Rich 2

OpenBSD

OpenBSD. No question.

Secure out-of-the-box, and very easy to add as many layers of security on top as you want - packet filter, anti-dos, email filtering & black/greylisting, etc etc.

Add to that some very clever internals like random memory space allocation, non-executable memory, strong privilege division in many of the core components, and you have a very string OS.

It's not just for servers :-)

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Microsoft partners seriously underwhelmed by Windows 8.1

Rich 2
Devil

The OEMs sort-of deserve it

I don't have a lot of sympathy with the PC OEMs. They have, for literally decades, leached off the Windows thing. None of them have made any effort to build anything other than a "Windows" box, with maybe a couiple of exceptions but even these were very much half-heated. They have all sucked-up to MS, and have been more than happy to pass-on the WIndows tax to consumers. I'm not going to get upset for them now that their golden egg seems to be cracking.

As for paying 100 quid for the OS, I notice that Apple only charge £14 for an upgrade to the latest version of OS-X! Which one do YOU prefer?

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PlayStation 4 is FreeBSD inside

Rich 2
Happy

Re: Some people need a life

"If anyone is a BSD buff I would be interested in hearing which you find best and why."

I am an openBSD buff, I suppose. I much prefer it over Linux (and no, I'm not knocking Linux, it's just the obvious alternative). I'm very much a s/w dev so my criteria is not the same as my granny's, but, I like BSD over linux because...

- "/etc" is MUCH simpler. There are about 1/10 the files in /etc/ on a BSD box than in Linux. Of course, Linux is based on Sys V in this respect. But the BSD way of doing this is much simpler and straightforward. In fact simplicity is common throughout the system.

- It's generally quite bare-bones at installation (I think FreeBSD is probably slightly less so), which I like

- Stuff doesn't change every 5 minutes! How many sound APIs has Linux had over the years? Hang on - taking my shoes and socks off as I type... Stuff that ran on a BSD box 10 years ago stands a VERY good chance of running on a BSD box today (after a recompile, granted). But the APIs don't change. The libs don't change. You know where you are. As a s/w dev, this is very attractive.

- It's INCREDIBLY stable. It will run for literally years and years and years without rebooting and with no issues to suggest it needs it.

- There tends to be an attitude by the devs to get stuff working better. Rather than "improving" broken stuff by adding a "skin" or some other pointless attribute, which itself is likely to be buggy.

- It's not GNU. I say this not to provoke an argument, but as a genuine advantage. I find quite a few of the GNU tools horribly complex and unnecessary and non-portable - "feature test macros" anyone? Or that utter abortion called autoconf? (whoever thought using a million-line script to build something was a good idea?) Hideous!!! And yes, the BSDs DO use some GNU tools, but they are actively trying to replace them.

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So you want to be a contractor? Well, here's how it works

Rich 2
Unhappy

IR35

When Labour were in, I thought the Conservatives promised to get rid of IR35?

Phrases like "yea, right...", and "oh, you fell for THAT one, did you?" spring to mind

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Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader

Rich 2
Mushroom

@Velv - (Unfortunately) you are wrong!

While I find Apple's behaviour in this contemptible, your comment "The Bank is taking the credit risk, not Apple" is not actually correct in the harsh reality of business banking.

I used to run a small web-based retain business and I used to accept credit/debit card payments. It's all unnecessarily complicated, but basically, if you are a company and the target of credit card fraud then I wish you the very best of luck getting your money back from the bank after you have shipped the purchased goods and then find out the card was used fraudulently. The bank will usually point at clause xyz and tell you to whistle.

It really annoys me when I see adverts aimed at Jo Public with tag lines along the gist of "don't worry about using your card on-line - we (the bank) will make sure you don't lose out". Notice that the banks DON'T say that THEY will cover the costs. That's because they don't! They pass the buck on to the retailer. This is why the banks have never really taken credit card fraud seriously. Because most of the time, the cost to the bank is nothing; either the customer pays or the retailer pays.

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Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Rich 2
Mushroom

Environment? Pah!

Like pretty much all "lets save the environment" ideas, the biofuel thing has very little to do with "saving the environment" and much more to do with making money. Just like "carbon trading" (an absurd idea that Dr. Strangelove would have been proud of), and taxing ...well ...pretty much anything you can think off that might even be vaguely to do with pollution.

I mean, why bother actually DOING anything about poisoning the planet we live on when we can do bugger-all about it instead, and make some more of that completely artificial concept called "money" into the bargain? Despair in human nature? God, I do; we deserve to die-out!

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'Close to one in three - sorry, one in eight - SMEs are software pirates'

Rich 2
Happy

Priorities

"...[you would think] sorting out software licences would be a priority from the word 'go'"

And that's the thing isn't it? When you're running a business, this sort of thing is NOT a priority. Making sure you can pay the rent is a priority. Making sure you can pay your staff, or making sure your invoices get paid, or your shipments get to your customers on time is a priority. Oh, yes, I accept the whole "it's stealing" thing (I write s/w myself for a living, and have done so for many years), but that doesn't change human nature, or the REAL priorities in life.

It's all part of the broader bluster about piracy, whether it be DVDs, CDs (remember them?) or anything else. Just because you jump up and down about this stuff, it doesn't make it important. There are many important things in life (which probably boil down to a handful in reality), but software/DVD/CD/whatever piracy is certainly not one of them.

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Rich 2
Thumb Up

jedit

Used jedit almost exclusively for years now. Multi--platform (as long as you have a JVM), extendable, very reliable, understands pretty much every language ever invented (or you can describe a new one to it if it doesn't know it), etc etc.

Some of the plugins can be a tad ropey, but on the whole highly recommended.

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Android 'splits' into the Good and the lovechild of Bad and Ugly

Rich 2
Happy

Yep - it's all pretty crappy

My Motorola Android phone is ok, but that's about all it is. Android is still full of holes and lacking functionality. To quote my long-suffering wife, the problem with techy stuff is that it's always "just a bit crap". And she's right. Yes, it works. Most of the time it even works quite well. But it also stalls, it can sometime take ages to drop calls, the sound sometime inexplicably stops working requiring a reboot to recover it (I've missed several alarms because of this), The screen flips portrait/landscape on a whim. Dunno if the newer Android version do, but mine doesn't have support for client SSL certificates. I could go on ...and on ...and on....

This is all really basic stuff and the fact that these issues exist is a symptom of the "get it out of the door ASAP, whether it works or not" problem. It's not specific to Motorola, or even Android. It's modern-day stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap (even if they are "just a bit crappy") business. Ho hum...

0
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Firm moves to trademark 'Python' name out from under the language

Rich 2
FAIL

But trademark law doesn't work like that!

"It would prevent anybody else from using the word “Python” in goods, packaging, services, or in business papers and advertising without Veber’s express consent."

This is simply not true. A trademark only applies to specified good and services that must be stated at the time the trademark is applied for. There is nothing to stop you applying for a trademark of (say) Apple as long as your goods/services don't involve computer products or music (remember - Apple records), and probably a few other things. Similarly, a trademark of Python for a computer language is completely separate to a trademark of Python for (say) motorbikes or a chain of estate agents.

It all depends on what the intended use of the trademark is.

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