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* Posts by My Alter Ego

310 posts • joined 16 Sep 2009

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RSA comes out swinging at claims it took NSA's $10m to backdoor crypto

My Alter Ego

Re: Remember When...

Those v were the days - when you had boot floppy (if others used the PC) which had ended up having a menu for each game. If I recall, it was also possible to group config.sys settings for specific games too.

Now I just curse surgeon simulator for not having shadows on Linux - you have no idea how difficult it is to do a brain transplant in an ambulance going over speed bumps when you have no sense of depth!

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BIG, CURVY Apple models: Just right for SLAP AND TICKLE

My Alter Ego

Re: coming soon to a phone near you

No reason for it wobble, the back doesn't have to be curved for it to have a curved screen. My Galaxy Nexus has a curved screen which is great because I can place it face down on a flat surface and it won't get damaged.

I've seen a lot of people suggesting that it's so you get more pixels for a given size - not sure what curvature they think will be used!

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NASA, start your torrents: 622 Mbps broadband link FOUND ON MOON

My Alter Ego

Re: Avoiding long distance charges?

Nope, but Randal's done the sums on it:

xkcd what-if - Voyager

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Apple ban win: Now you can't buy Samsung gear no one was buying

My Alter Ego

Re: "Samsung ... realised they had no patents they could reply with"

Admittedly I've lost track what the component was, but using percentage of phone mass or volume is a pretty poor metric. If, for example it was related to 3g processing, then you can expect it to be pretty small and light, however you won't have a phone without it.

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Cisco email accidentally sent to 1000s of employees causes message list MAYHEM

My Alter Ego
Devil

Did this to a guy in an previous company

He was a very sleazy towards a friend of mine. There was also a bug with the Lotus Mail client which wouldn't lock if you used the Super+M combination, so when we left his desk we sent an email to everyone in Dublin, London, Toronto & Tokyo which requested a receipt (which wasn't optional). His inbox didn't last two minutes!

Ah, good days.

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Oracle Team USA sailors admit breaking America's Cup rules

My Alter Ego

Re: Yeah, little technical things

There's a hell of a lot more to sailing than pulling some ropes to adjust sails (Ok, the mainsail I trim has 8 different controls for setting the shape of, 11 if I include where it can be controlled from either tack). However, we only have 3 sail trimmers out of 8 crew.

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My Alter Ego

Re: Yeah, little technical things

"like not having sails, for example" - not sure I agree with that, I see wing sails as just another advancement in the technology - I've always described sails as zero-thickness wings. They just given them some thickness now. Unless you're racing a one-design class, it'll always be a case of people throwing money at the design to get the most out of the rule. That's one of the reasons that the AC45s were more interesting to watch.

Oh, and as much as I love sailing, it's got to be one of the most boring sports on earth to watch, even if you understand exactly what's going on. Most of the people I sail with completely agree.

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My Alter Ego

Re: Any word on exactly what the illegal modifications were?

From what I've read, it was an extra 4.5lb of ballast on their AC45s - something that Coutts said would cause a minuscule difference in trim (and apparently would reduce performance*)

To be fair, the new cup format is ridiculous - moving from the IACC 20m rule was supposed to reduce costs, but they've had to hand a whole load of money back (3M USD) to Loius Vuitton as they didn't have enough competitors as challengers are struggling to run their AC45 and a pair of AC72s.

* On the boat I race on, we're supposed to race with the cushions in their normal place, which the boss doesn't like doing as they can get wet during spinnaker drops and sail changes. Instead we keep them in the aft cabin which is against the rules, but actually reduces our performance as it'd be better to keep them forward for a trim point of view.

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Secret ROYAL BABY birth VIDEO leaked! (And other malware scams)

My Alter Ego
Facepalm

Don't joke. I was listening to a broker in our office underwriting a Renault Clio "Nürburgring Edition". However the guy on the other end kept on calling it a Nuremberg Edition. I heard the broker the "correcting" him, saying "It's Nürburgring, not Nuremberg. The Nuremberg was the big blimp that went on fire".

It turns out that the people I support get the most important war crime trials of the 20th century mixed up with a Zepelin <sigh>

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Darth Vader's old gaff awaits exogorth desert DUNE DOOM

My Alter Ego

The actual story

That the the production company couldn't be arsed to tear down the set even though the film grossed over 1 billion USD.

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WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

My Alter Ego
Trollface

Re: Great Idea

So am I. Well, as long as the ISPs will censor any of the porn the *ahem* doesn't do it for me, and leave all the good stuff visible.

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Google loses Latitude in Maps app shake-up

My Alter Ego

Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

Maverick is great - also has OSGB & OSM maps and can be downloaded using Mobile Atlas Creator. It's brilliant as you select which layer you want, OSM public transport was pretty good when In Brugges. And the OSM cycling maps work well for hiking. Custom layers are available too, so I used it for skiing too (Open Piste Map),

Another app I used when I was driving around France last year was NavFree - full turn by turn routing. Install the app and download the data for which ever country you want. Granted, it took me on a few tolled routes when I told it not to, but for something that was free, on my phone and didn't cost me any data usage, it was excellent.

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UK Post Office admits false accusations after computer system cockup

My Alter Ego
Thumb Up

Re: Keeping the beaurocracy alive... @AC 8:13

" I can't see DHL, UPS et al clamouring to provide a rural service."

You're right, I remember our old office postman saying exactly that. Royal Mail were obliged to carry letters for other mail companies at a set cost. So DHL Mail take your money and deliver it themselves if it's in a city, or use the Royal Mail if it's rural so that Royal Mail take the loss and not them.

As much as Royal Mail wind me up, they're between a rock and hard place when it comes to competition. What they do for 33p is still pretty impressive - Jack Dee (Live at the Apollo) did a great piece on it (which I can't find online, otherwise I'd post a link).

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3-2-1... BOOM: Russian rocket launches, explodes into TOXIC FIREBALL

My Alter Ego
Thumb Up

Re: Amateur footage shows it better

Especially as the rocket was getting visibly larger as it was careering towards the ground. The official video did show something that looked like incomplete fuel burning (soot) which I'm guessing could cause significat asymmetric thrust.

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My Alter Ego
Thumb Up

Re: Wow!

Made me think of some of my failed launches in KSP.

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US cops make 'first ever' Bitcoin seizure following house raid

My Alter Ego
Thumb Up

Re: Legality and fractional amounts

"This can run into embarrasing problems..." This was part of the plot of Tom Sharpe's [superb] Indecent Exposure.

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Report: Android malware up 614% as smartphone scams go industrial

My Alter Ego

@El Andy

Those are two discrete problems with the same name. Windows malware tends to be installed without the user's knowledge and is then allowed access to look at all the user's data.

Android malware on the other hand warn the user that it'll look at your contacts, send SMS messages, make phone calls etc. The sand boxing means that one app isn't allowed to access another app's data (unless the data is stored on the SD), and certainly isn't allowed to modify other executables.

Have you seen the removal instructions for Android malware? "Go to Settings, Apps. Select app. Click remove". If there is a *real* security issue where an app that runs with elevated privileges, then I'll be pretty bloody annoyed.

Somebody used a seat belt analogy, mine has a light and an alarm if there's weight on the seat and the belt is plugged in - it's bloody annoying when I've shopping on the seat. However, it's up to me to make an educated guess on whether to heed that warning or not.

My major problem with android? Textareas are still buggy after so many years and sometimes online images aren't down in the stock email client.

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Windows 8.1 start button appears as Microsoft's Blue wave breaks

My Alter Ego
FAIL

Re: wjhat makes me laugh...

I had to use Google (no really) to find out how to shut down a Win8 laptop*. MS have a webpage titled How do I shut down (turn off) my PC?. When you need to have a help page on how to do something so basic, you have screwed up - there is no argument.

I don't care if it's a superb UI for touch screens, I have two 24" monitors on my desk that are far enough away so that I can read them, so surprise, I need a UI optimised for mice & keyboards. Not some big icons (tiles) that are sorted randomly and flow about instead of a nice ordered list.

* Some clarification

- Power button made computer sleep (ok that's the OEM's decision)

- Logging off, clicking another button to find the shutdown option is not a sensible method, so there had to be a better option.

- It's a laptop - I don't want it to sleep. If I shut the lid, I don't want it to consume any power while I'm driving to the train station.

- Having the user find a magic pixel at the top right of the screen to simulate a swipe gesture (I think) is not a sensible UI decision.

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Privacy expert dismisses PRISM-busting typeface as 'art project'

My Alter Ego

Re: Expert?

Sorry, but using a encryption scheme that pre-dates Julius Caesar isn't a good idea however you look at it. There's a reason why we have RSA, AES et al - because anything susceptible to frequency analysis *is* useless.

The last time I rolled my own encryption was a decade ago and even then I accepted that it was merely obfuscation as performance was far more of a concern. Encryption should be left to the mathemagicians.

I'm aware that this was done to raise awareness, but even my non-techie friends are talking about the NSA and Snowden. There may be a plus-side however - cretinous [would be] terrorists and criminals may start using this to "encrypt" their word documents*.

* Caesar Cipher

In 2011, Rajib Karim was convicted in the United Kingdom of "terrorism offences" after using the Caesar cipher to communicate with Bangladeshi Islamic activists discussing plots to blow up British Airways planes or disrupt their IT networks. Although the parties had access to far better encryption techniques (Karim himself used PGP for data storage on computer disks), they chose to use their own scheme(implemented in Microsoft Excel), rejecting a more sophisticated code program called Mujhaddin Secrets "because 'kaffirs', or non-believers, know about it, so it must be less secure"

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My Alter Ego

Expert?

You don't need to be an expert of any kind to see that this was a ridiculous idea.

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Cuba bound? Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong

My Alter Ego
Facepalm

Re: Sadly

I worked at USIT during a summer processing their J1 visa applications. One guy actually ticked "insurrection" as it was the least worst choice and he thought you had to select one. The problem was that you only got one form, so we had to tell him to write a covering note. <sigh>

It gave us a good laugh, that and the photos of guys wearing "First Communion jumpers", if you're Irish (and of a certain age), you'll know what I'm talking about. I'm trying to find photos, but am failing miserably.

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Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

My Alter Ego

Re: That is precisely how we used to know that all comms are monitored

Nowhere does it say PKI was used, although it's an excellent excuse. Maybe that was your point.

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My Alter Ego

Re: Vindication

ROT26 is much quicker.

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NSA PRISM-gate: Relax, GCHQ spooks 'keep us safe', says Cameron

My Alter Ego
Flame

@Chris Miller

WHY ARE YOU HELPING TEH TERRISTS BY GIVING THEM IDEAS!!!!!1111111ONEHUNDREDANDELEVEN

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Author Iain (M) Banks falls to cancer at 59

My Alter Ego

An absolute shame

The only author who could consistently blow my mind.

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America's mobile phone unlock block coming unstuck

My Alter Ego

Re: Locked or unlocked

I do the latter. However I don't see the point in locking the phone - you're still going to have to pay monthly (for up to 24 months) as per your contract, so the provider is guaranteed to get their pound of flesh.

Sure, you can say that by providing an unlocked phone (that the customer uses on a different network) means that the customer won't pay as much to the provider. However, the costs to the phone's provider will be less as there will be no data/SMS/phone usage.

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Film crew plans dig to find lost burial ground of Atari's E.T.

My Alter Ego

Re: @Mephistro (was: @Idocrase)

When my dad was visiting me a few years ago, I took him to the Ashmolean in Oxford - I introduced it to him as the museum of plunder. I was mortified when he proceeded to tell his 90 year old aunt this, luckily she'd seen more of the world than I ever will (through a father in the army) and said it was a perfect description of the museum.

The British museum is much the same, but in their defence, they both do an excellent job preserving and displaying the plunder - it's free entry for the public and in some cases the originating countries are still so corrupt that most of the items would have been sold to private collections and never seen again (I'm not sure if Greece is included in that group!)

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Anonymous 'plonks' names, addresses of far-right EDL types on web

My Alter Ego

Re: Results Desired and Obtained

Absolutely. We should wait until they're sentenced, and then revoke NHS privileges.

A friend and myself (after a few pints) came up with an idea - Human Rights points. When you are convicted of a crime Human Rights points are deducted from your account (proportional to your crime). The convicted person is allowed to chose which rights should be taken away (thus they are responsible for their own punishment).

I've now decided that NHS treatment should be added to my list.

Personally, I wish that stupid woman who filmed what-his-name hadn't decided to make a quick buck from selling the footage to the media. She and the other fools have helped these two maniacs succeed in their task.

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Annular solar eclipse LIVE!

My Alter Ego
Facepalm

@NomNomNom

I can'y believe somebody modded you down.

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My Alter Ego

Re: Erm...

Erm, I think your sense of humour failed you.

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Brit adventurer all set to assault ex-Reg haunt Rockall

My Alter Ego
Trollface

Re: Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

Sounds like a good plan, though personally I find that the Virgin Mary doesn't exactly <ahem> do it for me. Each to their own.

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Apple: You thought Google dodged taxes? Get a load of THIS

My Alter Ego

Re: What will they do with the overseas assets?

"God I hate that type of statement, isn't it truly amazing that some people really think that rich people simply stash all their money in a big safe to keep it away from all the grubby poor people?"

Isn't that exactly what Apple are doing here?

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Is this the first ever web page? If not, CERN would like to know

My Alter Ego

telnet

Good luck using that on Windows Vista and above. Microsoft in their wisdom removed it, apparently to reduce bloat (it's a couple of 100kB) and for security reasons (confusing a client with a server that was never enabled by default).

It's quicker to google PuTTY, download, install and run than it is to install the telnet client.

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Game designer spills beans on chubby-fancying chap with his stolen Mac

My Alter Ego

Re: The blog

Well, it can be quite difficult to avoid the biker who suddenly plants himself in front of your car - if the traffic is already doing 80, there's no need to filter. I also got overtaken by a bunch of bikers pulling wheelies past me last Sunday week. They wouldn't have been doing that if they'd seen the biker being lifted off the A34 into an air ambulance earlier that day.

I'm not trying to tar all with the same brush, but I've come across far too many lunatics in the last two weekends - probably because it's the first "nice" weather we've had.

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En Garde! Villagers FIGHT OFF FRENCH INVASION MENACE

My Alter Ego

Re: France Telecom - Pah!

Just in case you were being serious, it's because the cell and intnet often tends to go back to the county of origin of the ship. Doing an IP geo location when on free WiFi on Irish ferries will tell you you're in Norway.

What I don't get is that when the ship is within reach of 3g cells it continues to use the slow and incredibly expensive satellite connection.

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Here's the $4.99 utility that might just have saved Windows 8

My Alter Ego
WTF?

OS speed

I really hope that the amount of time it takes for Solitaire and Minesweeper to load is not indicative of the OS speed and responsiveness.

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Big Blighty telcos ordered to block three BitTorrent search sites

My Alter Ego

Or just use a smaller ISP - AAISP, Xilo, etc. I've just tried on our backup ADSL line - not blocked, whereas our Leased Line is. Actually that surprises me as the previous bans didn't affect us.

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Curiosity photographs mysterious metal object on Martian rock

My Alter Ego

Re: We'd better send another sattelite...

Not unless you want to be sued by Games Workshop.

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Pope resigns months after launching social networking effort

My Alter Ego
Flame

Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

Quite the opposite.

If I didn't have such a strong belief that there is no god, that book would have put me off atheism. Richard Dawkins comes across as an arrogant asshole. In fact, I describe him as a Fundamental Atheist - his way is the only way, and anyone with an opposite view is an idiot.

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The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

My Alter Ego
Facepalm

Re: "pillow biting"

Hmm, never heard that phrase - I just read it as a reference to being shafted. Maybe I've just led a sheltered life. Then again, I didn't understand the whole American outrage at the KFC advert in Australia that had fain placating Windies supporters by giving them some KFC - I'd never heard about the whole Black, fried chicken stereotype.

I suppose some people just enjoy being offended and announcing it to the world.

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UK web snoop charter: Just how much extra info do spooks need?

My Alter Ego
Alien

Self signed certs are the way forward

Putting my tinfoil hat on, using self signed certs and PGP appears to be the only way to have some privacy anymore. CAs can't be trusted (mainly due to incompetence, not malice). Ironically, the more the security services* push snooping, the sooner everyone starts encrypting all their traffic.

* Every person who becomes home secretary seems to be turned into a crazed maniac that would put the head of the Stasi to shame. Either there's something in the water in Marsham Street, or [every day] they get told that the next 9/11 * 1000000 is imminent.

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Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps

My Alter Ego
Thumb Up

Re: Daniel Palmer

Completely agree. I've sat there optimising the hell out of code to get it to run decently on the emulator when developing (doubles to floats, caching variables in lists, etc), only to find that it runs perfectly on my Nexus 1. The emulator runs like a dog, and I now try to avoid it as much as possible.

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Iran develops working ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Monkey

My Alter Ego

Re: Never mind the nuke angle, there are more important questions:

Persionauts? Not to be confused with a French car manufacturer.

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My Alter Ego
Mushroom

Re: US State Department is concerned?

I also don't understand how it can "probably" violate Resolution 1929. It achieved orbit (not sub-orbital or ballistic) and if they've managed to launch satellites before they already have the capability to launch a ballistic missile. To get to 100km you only need 1.4km/s Δv, to get into LEO, 9.4km/s Δv is needed.

The words Horse, Stable and Door spring to mind when I saw that quote.

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My Alter Ego

Re: Muslims in Space

Not as complicated as for Jewish astronauts. An Israeli who was on a Shuttle mission had the problem that the Sabbath is every 7 days (or 7 sunsets on earth), unfortunately the Shuttle was orbiting every 90 minutes, meaning a Sabbath comes around every 10.5 hours, which would have been quite distracting. They resolved it by deciding that he could observe the Sabbath as if he were at Cape Canaveral.

http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2014606/Chabad-Rabbi-Guides-Astronaut-in-Keeping-Shabbat-in-Space.html

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This week's BBC MELTDOWN: Savile puppet haunts kids' TV

My Alter Ego
Joke

Re: I put my foot through my cornflakes

Absolutely, it's much safer to pretend that he never existed - a bit like the book "A complete history of German politics - 1946 to present"*

* I told my [German] Mum this one, and she did laugh - who says that they don't have a sense of humour.

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Mega launches with mega FAIL

My Alter Ego

It happens when you activate your account. Bit bloody slow uploading some (non-critical) test files though.

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My Alter Ego
Boffin

Re: Fail

Don't understand the whole password thing. I [ would have] thought that Mega hold the encryption keys, but they are encrypted themselves with your password. When you log in, they send your keys to you which is then decrypted client-side using your password, and can be used for uploading new files. If you wanted to change your password, all that needs to be done is to for the client-side script to re-encrypt your keys and send them back for storage. Encrypting using your password as the key is just plain stupid, as your password will hit Mega's servers when you log in.

At least, that's they way I'd hope it to be. Please feel free to pick holes in this.

In addition, I'd hope that when you login your password never hits Mega's servers (if it were used for encrypting your keys), but is hashed and then sent to authenticate (this hash in turn is hashed and compared to the credentials database). That would mean that could still authenticate you, but would never be even able to sniff what your password is. Of course, it would rely on you completely trusting their client-side scripts, so that will fail the tin foil hat test.

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