* Posts by Robert Carnegie

2212 posts • joined 30 Sep 2009

Quake-hit Italy: Open up Wi-Fi

Robert Carnegie
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Re: That's daft

I agree, these volunteer organisations are completely unprofessional. ...What?

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Crims share vulns but vendors don't. This needs fixing

Robert Carnegie
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Not the big names, I think.

Microsoft does disclose vulnerabilities in public security updates - although not necessarily what the vulnerability actually is. Microsoft, Google, and others have people busily testing competitors' software and discovering - and publishing (responsibly) - security holes that are found. So I think we're taking about the likes of Target or Walmart and compromised point-of-sale payment machines: that information about that sort of thing isn't shared between companies that are victims.

However, Microsoft, Red Hat, or Cisco won't have any software in common between their products except for what either is produced by a third-party, or is copyleft open code, or both.

Another category is the recent matter of CVE-2016-5389, where implementation of a TCP standard in the Linux kernel apparently led to a quite serious security hole, that any other implementation might have had, as well - if there had been another implementation.

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Robert Carnegie
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What vendors?

I struggled to understand what "vendors" have security issues that they aren't discussing.

I think you mean: e-commerce services - online stores, and bricks and mortar as well - that may be hacked or attacked, or sent fake orders for goods, and so forth. Yes?

But, a little too abbreviated, for me.

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Beauty site lets anyone read customers' personal information

Robert Carnegie
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Who, nowadays, is in the phone book?

With their credit card number listed as well?

Also there are sanctions - limited but real - against misuse of the phone system.

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German minister seeks facial recognition at airports, train stations

Robert Carnegie
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Munich?

I don't think that Munich counts as "caught up" unless you were one of the hostages, in which case, you were killed. So your insight into present situations may be not current.

So presumably the plan is, any time someone walks into a railway train station that the computer thinks looks like a terrorist, they evacuate the train station?

Then terrorism just got a lot easier, yes? Just put on a turban and the alarm will be set off. Or if the system is really refined, also wear a false beard. These items can be discarded during the panic, and the attack can be repeated again and again.

Last night I actually was on a train and I saw a small unattended bag which almost certainly was someone's discarded rubbish, so I didn't say anything. I didn't sit next to it though. I can only say I haven't heard any report...

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My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Not "fat-burning" per se

Wellllllll.

The fat dimension claims appear (1) to be exclusively "sleeping well" related and (2) to sort of disappear as you read.

What it actually mainly says:

Sleep Better, Burn Fat, Get Focused, Feel Energized, Look Cool

At least 3 of these are things that you could do, not things that the glasses could do. So I think the intention is that you also look cool (one of my exceptions) and you burn fat (the other one). Not what the glasses do (they may look cool just on their own, as well).

"Burn" is misleading. You will be metabolising - using as body energy fuel - the fat that was kept in your body. That is the reason why your body keeps it, to be used later (apparently). It's only necessary to not eat more calories than your metabolism needs to use. If you do eat more calories then you won't metabolise any of the fat.

You also can exercise yourself, to metabolise more of your present and past calories. Also, so I'm told, exercise causes muscles to grow, and muscles - aw, heck - muscles "burn" more energy even while you aren't exercising but just sitting around. Except for sitting around watching TV or, ahem, a computer screen, because then most of your body turns off from the neck down.

Elsewhere, "Five ways to burn fat while you sleep" does not live up to billing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/realbuzzcom/weight-loss-and-sleep_b_3980550.html

(two require staying awake, three are about eating choices, one is to sleep longer... that is five. I assume that you can bedtime snack while technically already asleep. Here the plan is to snack on magic foods which are said to prevent obesity, one of which is cottage cheese. I think that is a kind of cheese but it doesn't go on a burger.)

A customer of the amber facewear declares, "These are not your ordinary yellow tint protective lenses." I don't know though, do you think maybe they are?

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Robert Carnegie
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Not "fat-burning" per se

According to your description, the "fat-burning" glasses are actually "don't-eat-so-much" glasses. Burning off the fat is still up to you.

I suppose that "make food look a different colour" glasses may affect appetite. Or ones that make the food look bigger or smaller... By all means try this experiment and report back.

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Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords

Robert Carnegie
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Joke

Re: Storage space

I thought of a very efficient hashing system. Only store the length of the password. Up to 65,535 character length can be identified in 2 bytes. Oh wait - 32,767 characters; it's signed. And, yes, I'm allowing password length zero; someone's going to want it. Pedants, I expect.

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If this headline was a security warning, 90% of you would ignore it

Robert Carnegie
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Re: fakes

I seem to recall Yahoo introducing a graphic of your choice to display on genuine messages from Yahoo - or something like that. Fake system messages wouldn't be able to mimic that.

Also, you can simply block popups in your web browser, except for whitelisted sites that you want to allow.

I think the principal issue is to make the user receive and correctly deal with system messages and not to ignore them or to click "OK" to the wrong ones. In that context, it's a matter of web sites or apps that take unexpected and inappropriate actions, that you want to block. And then also stop using the site or the app as soon as you can find a substitute.

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Robert Carnegie
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"Remind me later"

https://xkcd.com/1328/

Actually here's how I see it: Most computer users don't actually understand the messages that their computer pops up - even the ones that say "A web site unexpectedly wants to take your credit card number. Y/N" So they just hit Y, because otherwise they don't get to do the fun things.

Also - in the workplace, all too often, your IT department hasn't got things quite right, and you are instructed to click on "I accept the risk of catastrophic data exposure" every day when you log in.

In... at least one workplace I have known.

So the message is - ignore the message.

It's not right, is it.

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Ancient radioactive tree rings could rip up the history books

Robert Carnegie
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"the dinosaur was holding a placard with “Ban the Bomb” written on it"

Sacking offence. Or final warning. (Appropriate I suppose.)

By the way I'm also sceptical of those toy shop kits where you get your choice of dinosaur to excavate, in a box... I'm saying how do they know?? ;-)

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: "...God has *planted* the evidence."

I don't recall Douglas Adams's planet builders (of Magrathea) putting in fake fossils. Fjords, yes. And "glaciers poised to roll over Africa" IIRC on the new model of Earth, so they did use some traditional methods.

Terry Pratchett's planet makers did planted dinosaur bones in his early novel "Strata", and then there's an indication in the story - this may be a spoiler - that God uses a similar method in Her work.

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Wearable fart generator

Robert Carnegie
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On the internet, no one knows, ...

(He who posted it, hosted it!)

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Robert Carnegie
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I read an SF novel

where virtual reality was not "immersive" but "intrusive". I think the non-visual interface device was called "the Probe", and it was unisex. And difficult to ignore.

I think "DOS" was in the title.

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Fortinet follows Cisco in confirming Shadow Broker vuln

Robert Carnegie
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Hoarding?

That's three bugs confirmed, two patched already, one a nasty surprise. So if these are from the NSA secret hoard, then that last one seems to have been still secret and still hoarded, until this week.

It seems however that the legal workaround is that the secrets aren't held by the NSA itself but by one or more private hacking companies that they employ. So they're supporting American private industry (or Israeli or whatever) and it's -trade- secrets that "belong" to the hackers. Maybe not even known to the NSA.

I remember a video game on computer where you could collect points while just standing in the corner doing nothing. Tip: this also works in some offices. (I'm not sure now why I thought any of this information was going to be relevant.)

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£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Private Eye

Are they related? Surely some mistake.

Private Eye also is having a good Brexit, they haven't been this popular for years. I mean, I'm buying it.

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Robert Carnegie
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In other news (which you may have had already) people with an "old school" gas meter that counts cubic feet have noticed at length that their new gas company was interpreting the reading as metric volume, and overcharging big time. I don't think either that making some poor retirement-age meter reader shuffle around reading the meters will fix that. Most of them don't understand the new money either, do they? They knew pounds, shillings, pence, tuppence, thruppence, tanners, and tenners. Anything else is still just confusing. I'm 50 and as you see I do remember the old money but I'm not nostalgic about it.

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He's a p0wnball Wizard, and he's twisted one Ubuntu-powered game

Robert Carnegie
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Well

No more naked pinball for me. :-)

(What with complaints from the darts team as well - I don't want to be the target of their animus.)

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How Brussels works: if you can’t beat them, join rewrite an EU directive

Robert Carnegie
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Question

"Terrorists"?

I suppose terrorists need to make money too. In "Allo Allo" on TV the dreaded Communist Party Resistance to Nazi occupation of France was perpetually concerned with the party finances. Of course they were freedom fighters - except for the Communist thing "obviously".

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Brisbane council loses $500k to scammers

Robert Carnegie
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Spear fishing for whales -

it seems to me, the people who do that would be "harp0wners". Is that too intellectual?

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Demise of Angler, the world's worst exploit kit, still shrouded in mystery

Robert Carnegie
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Godwin's Law

Surely the worst exploit kit must be that Hitler one that we heard about the other day. (And it also isn't very good, apparently.)

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Nobody expects... a surprise haemorrhoid operation

Robert Carnegie
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I think the story is that they paid him, but a lot less than you'd expect for medical negligence since they say it was substantially his fault as well.

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'The box' Bones uses to fix any ailment on the Enterprise? Yup, it's real

Robert Carnegie
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On the abstract patenting point,

This may vary between jurisdictions, but I think it's not that a patent isn't enforceable against someone who builds their personal-use copy of, let us imagine, a new ingenious style of ironing-board, but that the patent holder has to pay to sue and it isn't worth spending the money - a patent is just a licence to sue, you can't have someone arrested or anything.

Of course if I have patented a new way to make diamonds then it may be worth suing someone else who is doing it my way.

And life altering drugs? As I said, it's bad PR to squeeze the sick, but if you don't want to do that then should you be in medical research?

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: I'm stuck in the UK

I assume your "life changing drugs" are patented medical treatment, so, making your own at home must be rather naughty.

I suppose that a drug company suing a cancer or AIDS patient for self-medication by bootleg may look bad, but, if they drag the case out long enough, you won't be there any more when it ends.

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No need to panic, says SwiftKey, as email addresses, phone numbers appear on strangers' screens

Robert Carnegie
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Alternative

I like "FITALY", but you may need to use it on Windows CE or PalmPilot - or desktop/tablet Windows.

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Microsoft delays Azure updates so you can catch up with the cloud

Robert Carnegie
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Is it a Colossal Cavern?

Not to tell you your business, but I have a feeling that the more common verbal expression involves a sizeable chasm rather than a cavern.

It might be descended from the bible story about Lazarus and Dives - this probably isn't "died then got better" Lazarus but someone else with the same name - who found themselves on opposite sides of a particular chasm. Dives was in Hell, and Lazarus was in Heaven - one of the joys of which seems to be to look over to Hell and see people that you know. So the chasm is between heaven and hell. You're nominating Amazon cloud as heaven. Or, anyway, Microsoft cloud as hell.

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Tor veteran Lucky Green exits, torpedos critical 'Tonga' node and relays

Robert Carnegie
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I thought that "fast" probably was a technical term in the field and doesn't necessarily mean "rapid". The word also means "secure" and also "not eating".

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World's worst exploit kit weaponises white hats' proof of concept code

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Open source exploit affects IE

"Open source" just means that the source code is included. It doesn't mean that it's free to use legally. Especially here.

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If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Not IT, but a similar experience

Not sure about oxidation - I thought it used to be that RAM modules in the "black plastic rectangle with silver legs all along the long edge" type, chips basically, were heated while the PC was in use and cooled when it was turned off, and basically slowly wriggled out of their sockets. A carefully placed thumb press on the centre of each black bit, not touching the legs, fixed that.

Later: a laptop's own UEFI memory test was apparently fooled by its memory cache or something, passed. Booted with SystemRescueCD (Linux) and that memory test said, yup, a dead module. That was DDR-something.

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Please stop working and abuse your expense account at the beach

Robert Carnegie
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I suppose

if you wait long enough, the system doesn't count as a "super computer" any more.

...What is the first step down from "super computer"?

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Loose wrists shake chips: Your wrist-job could be a PIN-snitch

Robert Carnegie
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Re: What about finger-only movement?

It isn't really "finger only movement", because your fingers are controlled puppet-like by "tendons" that are run through your wrist.to connect to muscles in your forearm. Grip right wrist with left hand and move the right hand fingers (other the other way around), and you'll feel things moving in there.

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Magnetic, heat scanners to catch Tour de France electric motor cheats

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Being blessed with a body honed by sitting at a desk all day...

Can we crowdfund development of this secret electric bike for office commuters?

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400 million Foxit users need to catch up with patched-up reader

Robert Carnegie
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Also

For those who don't know, Adobe also provides a PDF reader product.

If you try it I think you'll never uninstall it. (But if you find out how, pass it on.)

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Robert Carnegie
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I don't think Asda is cheap for cables either. Their target market is people who haven't heard of Maplin.

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Robert Carnegie
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Cheeky but effective?

This seems to be asking suppliers to cut prices on LAST year's goods in return for continued business. An after-the-fact refund for no reason except for what smells to me like demanding a bribe. I think Tesco recently said they would stop doing the same thing to their suppliers, and Premier Foods perhaps hasn't - anyone know? But apparently it still sounds like a good idea.

The police should send in that American smut labrador.

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Robert Carnegie
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Not a gay hookup service... I hope

To avoid embarrassment - I am pretty sure that Maplin is not where gay men go to connect.

Maplin is not for sex, it is instead of sex.

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Israeli researcher fans fears: here's another way to cross the airgap

Robert Carnegie
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I'm worried

What is the British equivalent of kilobyte or megahertz? We haven't had our own computing standards since Turing.

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Robert Carnegie
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Just fanless. Can do.

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Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

Robert Carnegie
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Oracle

may be considering launching a proprietary Android product.

I have no particular reason to think so, except to make a joke. But maybe they would.

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Our CompSci exam was full of 'typos', admits Scottish exam board

Robert Carnegie
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Re: English, 1st language?

If it sounds right, it is right for all intensive purposes.

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/8-embarrassing-yet-common-malapropisms/

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: Q5 is wrong

Wrong in what way? It looks OK to me. SELECT * FROM StudentLocker ORDER BY YearGroup ASC, LockerNumber DESC

ORDER BY HouseName, LockerNumber gives the same result, but that isn't the point, I think.

The punctuation goes wrong when it starts talking about football.

"The second level of sorting only takes place when there are any matches, like a phone book with people with the same surname. They are then compared on forename or in football tables when teams have the same points. They are then sorted on goals scored."

It should say:

"The second level of sorting only takes place when there are identical values in the first level, like a phone book with people with the same surname. They are then compared on forename. Or, in football tables when teams have the same points, they are then sorted on professional fouls."

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Who's to blame for the NHS drug prices ripoff?

Robert Carnegie
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Drugs patent length

The argument that I referred to is the claim that too much of the term of a patent for medicine has to be spent expensively testing it for safety and for how good it actually is, before they can sell it and make their money back.

I think the system isn't failing yet (although medical science ought to be led by government and above commercial limitations), but cutting from 20 years to 10 probably would cripple drug research as private business.

As for music and words... they are protected for a very long time, but mostly that doesn't matter, you can write your own. Whereas the patent law is designed to give the man who invents the square paperclip his just reward, and then share his invention with the world.

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: I've read the original article

As far as I can tell, this isn't "cheap medicine for the Third World" generics of patented drugs as you are apparently reading it, it is drugs whose patent term has ended and anyone can legally make them, for a rather restricted set of "anyone".

There is a claim that patents should be longer, but they are not.

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Software snafu let EU citizens get referendum vote, says Electoral Commission

Robert Carnegie
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Error?

"The Electoral Commission said it is working on identifying how many EU citizens have wrongly been issued polling cards allowing them to vote"

They didn't say or shouldn't have said that. The polling card does not allow you to vote. I'd say it invites you to vote, but, as explained, you may be not entitled to, and the card doesn't prove that you can.

Maybe you could apply for quick British citizenship if you do want the right to vote, but that isn't easy to get if you don't have it, unless you are rich.

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Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Floor standing foot measurers

After the X-Ray machines (perhaps more dangerous to the operators, who got it all day), there was a machine that just slid metal bars in from all sides to gently grip your foot and report a measurement. a bit of a gimmick, but so was the X-Ray machine.

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You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it

Robert Carnegie
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Re: A cautionary pair of tales (pt2)

I think Notepad++ struggles with files of even a few hundred megabytes.

OTOH I think it now has a "tail" mode i.e. when the file grows on disk, its view in NPP is updated.

Alternative suggestion though - have your routine editor be one that quickly fails out, SAFELY, on oversized files. MS-DOS EDIT or EDLIN may qualify, may not.

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Robert Carnegie
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Delete some things.

Sometimes, responsible use of data includes deleting it when you don't need it any more, such as when it's the law regarding personal data or credit card numbers. Keeping what you shouldn't keep means it also can be stolen and misused and it's your fault.

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Marketing by opt-in, opt-out, consent or legitimate interest?

Robert Carnegie
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"The Bottom Line" - details

The programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07c4tqf

The company: https://www.davidnieper.co.uk

Beware - if I heard correctly, not only does Christopher Nieper want to reach out to non-customers at will, but I -think- he said that the business also relies on sending goods without bothering to have a customer order them first - apparently something that there was a risk of the European Union banning, but averted..

People who have never heard of him are safe for now (so, whoops), but put the two together and he will be sending -you- his cashmere T-shirts with an unexpected invoice. A ticklish situation.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/distance-selling-regulations

doesn't mention what to do if you are sent stuff you haven't ordered. I think I remember that if you open it then you may have to pay for it, but the smart thing is to call back and say "Something I didn't want has been delivered, do you want to come and get it?" Something like that.

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Robert Carnegie
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This week on BBC radio business discussion show "The Bottom Line"...

Topic: British membership of the European Union - good or bad for business?

One contributor was complaining that the EU wants to legislate over and over again to restrict his ability to collect data and locate and market directly to prospective customers...

That's spam, I do believe. Spam, or maybe junk post.

I was slightly surprised that no one said so on the air.

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Feds raid dental flaws dad

Robert Carnegie
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There is a password, though.

It's "default". Or it may as well be. But it -is- a password.

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