* Posts by Ogi

190 posts • joined 13 Nov 2009

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If your smart home gear hasn't updated recently, throw it in the trash

Ogi

> (and, it has been rumoured, printers leave ID'ing marks on the paper in some sort of specific dot pattern).

Not a rumour, been confirmed since 2005. Some links:

http://www.seeingyellow.com/

https://www.eff.org/issues/printers

https://www.eff.org/press/archives/2005/10/16

Also, they tried very hard to turn off AM/FM, and replace it with DAB and DAB+. There was a hard switch off for analogue radio which was like the one for analogue video, but it was realised there were just too many devices out there for a sharp cut off like they did with TV.

Don't worry, I am sure they are busy finding ways to get rid of radio as well. It might just take a bit longer.

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Firmware freakout sends Epson Wi-Fi printers into reboot loop

Ogi

Re: Alternative Solution

I installed a CISS system in my A3 Epson, precisely because as you mentioned, the cartridges don't even last one A3 print, and not only does it interrupt a print (so you have to manually be there) sometimes the replacement ink is a bit of a different mixture, so end up with shade differences, which is obvious on a photo print.

The CISS has been excellent so far, and no problems with the heads. Just make sure to set the printer to auto turn off after a couple of hours (I set it to 2) as when parked the heads are prevented from drying out.

I buy ink by the bottle, and it turns out cheaper than having a laser printer, plus can print on all kinds of different materials.

Looking at this Epson Ecotank, looks like they cottoned on to the CISS concept, and producing their own version. Good on on them, but you might find your printer is already supported by third parties, and you can use Epsons own ink bottles in it if you want.

As for the article, I tried once to enable Wifi on it, could not be faffed after some struggle, and plugged it into a rasbpi to act as a print server. I can do just fine with ethernet and/or USB on a printer, thanks. I don't need the other features.

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Russia's bid for mobile self-sufficiency may be the saviour of Sailfish

Ogi

Re: CE marked hardware

I am happy about SailfishOS. My old n900 bit the bullet in 2014 after 5 years of loyal service, and no Android phone so far has even come close to its flexibility, functionality and hackability. All I got was fancier animated effects, and far more intrusive spying and locked in apps, that gets harder and harder to strip out.

I am getting tired of having to fight my phone to do what I want it to do. I still believe that if a device is mine, it should listen and do what I want it to do, not some third party.

While what you say is true, there is one thing that is looking promising. Sailfish has no problems with you trying to port the OS to other phones. They call it "Hardware adaptation kit" (https://sailfishos.org/wiki/Hardware_Adaptation_Development_Kit) which I consider a bit of a misnomer, as you are not adapting hardware to the software, but ok.

It would be nice to build a community a bit like Cyanogen mod, and have people work on wide ranging device support. That way we don't have to rely on gray market imports (at least while we can get phones that are flashable).

After this news, I am tempted to see if I can port Sailfish to one of my Samsungs (Either the S5 or note 4, not sure which). Both have AOSP and Cyanogen mod builds, so in theory should be able to use the kernel and binary/modem modules from that as the base for a Sailfish OS, giving actual usability as a phone.

Likewise, I don't want either Android or Apple phones in future, especially if Google is moving away from open source Linux based Android into their own proprietary OS.

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GET pwned: Web CCTV cams can be hijacked by single HTTP request

Ogi

Re: Who writes this crap?

> Seriously? What clueless buffoon thought this was an acceptable way to read into an array?

The kind which cost you £3.50 an hour to hire.

That is fundamentally the problem. When anybody can pick up "programming for dummies" and get hired as a programmer, you end up with a race to the bottom, until companies are scraping the bottom of the barrel for the cheapest software that works long enough to be able to sell the product, and not much else.

There is no bare minimum "fit for purpose" standards for software, just like there is no accreditation for "software engineering". It does mean software is a far easier industry to get involved in, and maybe get your big break. It also means intelligent people can get a job even if they don't have a fancy degree and expensive accreditation, or even a formal education.

However the flip side is that anyone can call themselves a programmer, and get hired. As long as they are a lot cheaper than others, they will see work. This is especially true for software, which really can be done anywhere in the world (as long as there is a computer and Internet connection), allowing for outsourcing to the cheapest country/people possible.

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Grand App Auto: Tesla smartphone hack can track, locate, unlock, and start cars

Ogi

Re: Going stone-age

You also have to take into account how obvious it is that someone is stealing a car.

With old cars. the thief has to break a window, start hammering through the door with a screwdriver to break the lock, or otherwise obviously make a lot of noise and draw attention to themselves in order to steal a car. Ever see someone trying to break a steering lock? It is obvious a mile away what they are doing. That is ignoring the fact that even mechanically locked cars have alarm systems that make an awful din if someone starts breaking in.

Then they have to drive the car with the broken window and holes in the door/lock, not get noticed by coppers (who are trained to notice these things), and of course not had the car reported stolen (which because they made a massive din, means either you noticed, or one of your neighbours did and reported it)

This modern connected car can be hacked remotely, using an app, then the thief just walks up like he owns it, opens it normally, gets in and drives off.

Not to mention with mechanical locks, you need to be in the know. Most thieves learn about different cars, their mechanical weaknesses, where exactly to hammer the screwdriver to break the lock (if you get it wrong, the mechanical failsafe engages, the lock will jam and you won't be able to do anything else to it), etc.... You even get thieves that specialise in particular makes and models.

With connected cars, someone writes an app that does it, and sells it to wannabe criminals over the Internet, who just have to run said software/appliance, and then just drive off. Not much local training required. It is like the difference with hackers and script kiddies, except now being applied to cars.

There are not many skilled car thieves out there, but there are a lot of "script kiddie" equivalents who can run software. Like with those BMWs a few years back. Someone smart/well_funded/skilled cracked the BMW key fob and sold an app that would allow you to start any BMW assuming you could plug a dongle into its OBD2 port. As a result people who could not normally steal cars due to lack of ability, could just buy the software + dongle, and go at it. So many BMWs were stolen that insurance companies started refusing to insure them.

I agree with the original poster, all my cars are non-connected older cars (early 80s), and one has had many attempts to be stolen (thankfully the local yobbos don't know how to break the lock). I did retrofit alarms to the cars, and since then nobody has damaged them during their attempts.

Due to the sheer amount of pointless electronics and software in cars, I have no interest in anything post 2005 car wise. Even some of the 90s cars were getting too electronic, but those can still be dealt with.

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Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales

Ogi

"Analyst Gartner reported some time ago one reason for the slow down in the once-booming smartphone market was the fact that customers are holding onto their phones for longer – up to 2.5 years – and are less inclined to jump on the latest models."

You don't say? Why would I trade a phone that does everything I need, and has a replaceable battery and external SD card slot ( I'm currently happy with 64GB extra in the slot, 96GB in total) with one that has neither of those features (and if it is an Apple, no headphone socket either).

The only advantage is that the new phones are faster (mine is fast enough), have a newer OS with more spying and features I don't need, and are more locked down hardware wise.

They are probably thinner and possibly look more stylish in modern fashion sense, but for me a phone is a tool, not a fashion statement. Especially when I look at prices for new phones.

Until a new phone offers everything my old one does, and more new stuff to justify the cost, I will keep buying the older gen phones second hand. Being able to replace the battery means the phone can just keep going and going until something more serious breaks (even the LCD screen can be replaced on my phone, and has been twice so far).

Presumably this is why manufacturers don't want to offer the above. In this consumer disposable society, people like me must be the devil incarnate. How dare I not just chuck the phone every two years and buy a new shiny for £600 (and don't kid yourselves, you always pay for the phone, even the "free phone" 24 month contracts have the phone price baked in).

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Post-outage King's College London orders staff to never make their own backups

Ogi

Re: What to do, what to do?

"Please tell me how you make your backups offsite or off the network when USB ports are blocked and read/write access to the C drive is blocked too, and emails are limited to 25 megabytes."

I would zip the files up into one big one, split it into 20MB chunks, and send them that way. On Unix/Linux at least, it would not be a particularly hard script to write, nor to reassemble on the other side.

However, if your place of work has a policy against sending data out, you can't use this method unless you want disciplinary action taken against you.

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KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss

Ogi

Re: Always back up your data!

> Can we take this opportunity to discuss our own domestic data backup arrangements and weigh them up?

Sure thing.

Main resource is a 4U rackmount server, running freeBSD and ZFS (24TB RAM, 6 core AMD), and 4 * 3TB raidz2 for main storage, 3x 1TB raid0 for scratch, with a UPS. Main file server, and runs quite a few VMs and background processing.

Backup is:

- daily snapshot && backup to a 6TB external drive

- monthly full zfs backup to another 6TB external drive

- weekly rsync's of core data to my friends server in France (and in return he syncs his backups to my machine, bit of a virtual "disk swap" backup on each others boxes going on).

So far have suffered lightning strikes, floods, two massive array failures and an over active squirrel without losing data. ZFS in particular is amazing, as it can restrict failures to block level, so even when array was trashed, 70% of the data was still accessible because different parts of different disks had failed. So far have had to restore from external disk twice.

It seems like a very resilient setup, and everything is scripted so I have nothing to do (except put the external backup drive in the slot). The two external drives are key for quick restores, the offsite backup is just to fill in anything that may be missing locally after the restore.

Likewise when my friends server bit the bullet, he was able to get his core data back from my machine, so it really helps to have an off site backup. This setup is a like-for-like swap, and it implies a certain level of trust (otherwise you can just encrypt everything before you send it across).

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'F*cking crap' aside, Linus Torvalds says Linux 4.9 is coming along nicely

Ogi
Pint

Re: Misrepresentation

Wow, thanks for the timewarp! It has reminded me how much the Register has changed since then. I kind of miss the old el-reg, there were more playmobil reenactments for starters.

Still, I raise a pint to thee el Reg, for all the years so far, and hopefully many more!

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Self-driving cars doomed to be bullied by pedestrians

Ogi

Re: Because people will stick their hands in the doors

Not sure where you live, but here (in the UK) it is the driver that is at fault if a kid gets hit because they were in the road.

The logic goes that if there is a kid in the street, you are in a residential area, and should be going at 30mph or less, giving you adequate stopping time. If you were unable to shop it means you were going to fast for the environment, therefore it is your fault.

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EU ruling restricts rights to resell back-up copies of software where originals are damaged, destroyed or lost

Ogi

Re: Um?

>The rules are simple:

>

> 1. You can resell software without permission

>

> 2. You can make a backup but *only* for your own use.

That doesn't seem right. The way I read it, you can buy software, make a backup for "your own use", then sell on the software. You are ok as long as the backup copy you made is only used by you.

If true, sounds like a massive loophole, you can buy one license, make a backup, and then resell the original onwards in a chain.

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Is this the worst Blockchain idea you've ever heard?

Ogi

Immutable record?

Sounds very much like the guy read what Namecoin did a few years ago (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namecoin) and realised it could be applied to band names.

I don't think it will work, because in order for people to recognise that your cipher block is your name, you need all other alternatives to cease to exist, and for the ownership of the name referenced by the block in the chain to be legally enforceable.

Neither of these cases are true. Why would anyone care that you have registered a name on the blockchain? As things currently stand I don't see the benefit.

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I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

Ogi

Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

> The engine computer is just a board. Surely you could wrap it in a grounded screen and call it good?

Not really. Your ECU already has that setup, so there is nothing for you to add there. Hence me mentioning that ECUs are already designed to resist EM noise, which is why an "EMF gun" is not really feasible.

However, all the wires leading in and out of the ECU would act like antennas and pick up the EMF as well. In theory, If you pump in enough noise you could cause garbage data signals to be sent to the ECU, which could confuse it and cause some problems.

If you wanted to resist the hypothetical EMF gun, you would have to shield all those wires (up till the sensor endpoints). Considering they spider all over the car, it would be quite a feat to shield all of it. You would literally have to rip the entire car apart, shield every single trunk/wire in the loom, then reassemble it.

Quite frankly, in my mind a carb conversion would be easier, because you only have to do work on the engine itself, run a steel cable to the "go" pedal, and disconnect the ECU.

1
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Ogi

Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

>Shouldn't be that difficult to Tempest screen the engine computer in a typical car, seeing as how it is already surrounded by a lot of metal as it is.

I think it would. Car engines already produce a hell of a lot of electrical noise, so your cars computers are already heavily hardened against EMF radiation. That is why they are usually put in the passenger cabin, for extra shielding from the engine by the firewall. Your tempest screen would have to cover all the glass windows in the cabin, which would render them opaque.

Also, to be able to supply enough noise to defeat the EMF hardening while not causing problems to the car occupants is almost impossible. You really have to pump a shedload of EMF in order to induce the ECU to throw a wobbly. They are deliberately designed to resist EMF interference. And you would have to pump it into the cabin, where you can't really avoid microwaving the meatbags as well. Bad luck if anyone has a pacemaker for starters.

This idea was floated in the US years ago (I imagine after someone saw it in a Fast and Furious movie, where such a device was shown), and was proven to not work that well in reality.

For the effort to shield the ECU, you might as well convert the engine to run on carburettors/points and ditch the electronics anyway.

> That would be a lot less obvious that robbing a bank in 35 year old car.

Although it would add back some class I have to say. Like back when bank jobs were done with modified mk II Jags.

In reality though, I doubt many jobs would be using 4 wheeled vehicles at all. The last few jobs I read about were pretty much exclusive to 2 wheelers. Logically, as bikes are cheap, fast, can go between traffic, on pavements, down narrow passageways, etc.... and some can hold a not indecent amount of loot. 5 blokes on bikes can probably take a decent amount of jewels/shiny and make a getaway, bonus points if they all go in different directions.

Also, bikes are unlikely to ever have remote connected stuff like cars, and even if they do, they are unlikely to have kill switches. Having a bike suddenly lose power or cut out would be far more deadly than in a car, both to the unwitting driver and pedestrians.

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Ogi

Because Criminals will follow the rules?

A criminal by definition does not follow the rules. So if they make all cars have remote kill switches, the criminals will either have cars modified to not have the backdoor, or will start seeking out classic cars for their jobs, which lack all the computer based gimmickry.

However there is something more concerning in the interview. The Police commissioners statement that "we'd have a device that slowed down the car in front." In front of what? The criminals trying to get away? So the police want to start using innocent bystanders as weapons to slow down or stop criminals in a getaway car? Really?

Assuming the criminals are in a car that has been modified to ignore the kill signal, what is to stop them ramming their way past? This sounds like a recipe for disaster. To deliberately create dangerous situations and cause accidents with the general public in order to stop criminals getting away. Mental.

Ignoring the fact that as with anything else computer based and connected to the net, eventually hackers will also get access. So now criminals (presumably ramming their way through cars slowed by the police) can also slow down the public's cars in order to cause blockages for the pursuing police cars, which presumably either give up the chase or themselves start ramming cars out of the way. Sounds like a recipe for a complete mess.

And of course, those who just want to cause chaos by disabling cars on motorways/roads at random. Worst case scenario you get a massive pile up, best case you can cause complete traffic gridlock.

From the sound of the interview, I don't think the commissioner referred to driverless cars in particular. It seems he would like a tool they could fire to disrupt the electrics in any car and shut it down. Backdoor or not. This has already been proven not to work (at least not while leaving the car occupants unharmed).

However with the coming "always connected" cars, I suspect the commissioners bright idea will be possible to implement, and as such they will push very hard for it, thinking it will solve all their problems. I foresee a spike in the prices of "pre-internet-connected era" second hand cars, at least until any car without a kill device is deemed not road legal.

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Google's Allo chat app hits a downside to AI: Bot must hoard private messages to train itself

Ogi

Re: Allo, Allo

Yes... Herr Flik!

0
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WTF ... makes mobile phone batteries explode?

Ogi

Dense energy storage can be dangerous...

...News at 11.

The more energy you pack in a tighter space, the more likely something will trigger a runaway chain reaction resulting in a fire and/or explosion, and the higher the energy output of the reaction.

Fundamentally batteries rely on a controlled chemical reaction to supply you with energy. if the method of control fails you will have a chain reaction which can get ugly. Lithium is particularly reactive as mentioned in TFA, which is why when these things catch fire it is hard to put them out.

When you reach the kind of density where the energy is locked up in molecular bonds (e.g alcohol) , a spark in the vicinity of the liquid is enough to trigger a chain reaction. LiIon battery tech is not dense enough yet, so unless you physically pierce the battery, or there is a defect/overheating, you are unlikely to suffer these events.

It would be interesting to see if battery technology ever reaches the density of chemical fuels, would it be more or less dangerous than said fuels.

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Airbag bug forces GM to recall 4.3m vehicles – but eh, how about those self-driving cars, huh?

Ogi

Re: Bah!

This! Parent hit the nail on the head. Complexity breeds problems, the mark of a good engineer is to make something as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Problem is any idiot can make a stupidly complex system. It takes smarts to make an elegant simple system that does the same thing. Unfortunately idiots are cheaper to hire, so this is what we get.

Also there is always a push by accountants to save costs everywhere. Before, cars had separate computer systems. One for the engine, one for the alarm system, one for the air bags, and a separate entertainment system. If there were any interconnections, they were specific and targeted to components that required communication.

Now it is usually all handled by one powerful control unit with thousands of wires coming out of it, with generic addressable buses where everything hangs off. and it is possible that a bug somewhere overwrites the stack and instead of sending a signal to the engine it triggers the airbags.

As for me, I am going to stick to my 80s car thank you, although it is getting harder and harder to stay away from new cars due to changes in insurance policies (more and more are refusing classic car insurance unless you have a modern car as well).

Worst thing is, car manufacturers don't seem to care. They are making things more and more complicated, now with "AI" and "Constant connections" it sounds like a dystopian disaster in the making.

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Microsoft has open-sourced PowerShell for Linux, Macs. Repeat, Microsoft has open-sourced PowerShell

Ogi

Re: "On Linux we’re just another shell"

I don't know, in my mind when I need to do something like that, I graduate from shell to Perl/Python, and do it there.

Yes, Unix shells are old (although still being refined and developed, so today's shell is not your granddaddies), and some people don't like the design, but to be honest. They do what they say on the tin, and they do it damn well.

I can hack something together in bash with curl to do what you want, but chances are that if I had to do something like that, I would branch out into the above mentioned programming languages, do what needs to be done, and pass it back to the shell.

I don't see a need to shove everything and the kitchen sink into the shell. If I wanted that, I would basically just change my login shell from /bin/bash to /usr/bin/ipython, and have at it.

I see no reason for PowerShell on Linux. It would have been worth for me if it allowed you to run windows powershell scripts unaltered on Linux/Unix, like you can with Python/Java, however I don't get the impression that it works like that.

So, really for windows admins that have to admin the odd Linux/Unix machine and don't want the hassle of learning a Unix Shell. One serious niche, but who knows, maybe it will grow.

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VeraCrypt security audit: Four PGP-encoded emails VANISH

Ogi

Re: Gmail...

Yeah, I had to do a double take when I read the article. The fact they use Google services boggles the mind, and that is ignoring the conspiracy theories saying Google is a NSA front.

Google openly admits to reading emails. They can't read GPG encrypted emails (AFAIK) unless you somehow upload your private key to them (web based GPG signing/encrypting service?), but they can give copies of your emails to authorities, or indeed have the power to vanish them (although I suspect that would be more likely to be an error/bug, due to the attention it draws).

Not saying running your own email server is 100% secure, but at least your emails are on your systems, and not under someone else's, where you don't need to get hacked to get interesting goings on.

It isn't even particularly hard. I set up my own after lavabit went down, and been using it ever since.

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UK's 'Sir King Cash' card fraudster ordered to cough up £560,000

Ogi

Of course they would not let the crim keep it, assuming said crim were foolish enough to leave a lump sum in their bank account.

You are assuming the authorities can locate the money. A crim can just say "I blew it all on hookers and gambling", and then what? Issue him with a charge debt on his person for the money? Then it will just be written off as part of their rehabilitation (or the crim will just declare bankruptcy after the sentence anyway).

4
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Ogi

Re: Define "victims"

> So aren't we really talking about the banks chasing this money, not Joe Public?

No, if you think the banks will take a loss, pay out smaller bonuses to the executives, or otherwise absorb the cost of fraud, I've a bridge to sell you.

No, Joe Public pays. The banks increase interest rates on cards to offset the increased risk generated by the fraud, and the costs of reimbursing customers who were subject to fraud.

So we all pay a bit more in interest to cover these kinds of events. The more often banks get swindled, the higher they will charge for interest rates, making credit more expensive for those who use it.

However, you can avoid paying for this by just not having a credit card at all. At least until the banks start nearing collapse due to not having enough people to squeeze for money to cover their liabilities, at which point Joe Public will pay anyway via increased taxes, due to the inevitable government bailout.

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Ogi

"Benson will have three months to come up with the £554,000 or face a default sentence of five years imprisonment."

So, if he squirrels the money away somewhere and goes to jail for 5 years, he will earn £110,800 for each year in prison.

Now, from what I know, usually the actual sentence is half of what the court says, so 2.5 years, giving him a yearly earning of £221,600. This is assuming no further deductions while in the nick for good behavior or some-such.

This is assuming the money isn't invested giving some sort of return as well, just cash buried in a hole somewhere. For people who otherwise would be on the dole, or in minimum wage zero hours contracts, it might actually seem appealing.

Make a half million, hide it away. Maybe get caught, maybe not, but if you do, few years in prison, then release, and a decision to "start afresh", go abroad and live somewhere cheap, hot and by the sea.

Of course this requires foresight and planning, which few crims do, but still an interesting thought experiment.

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Dear Tesla, stop calling it autopilot – and drivers are not your guinea pigs

Ogi

Re: Also

"But he was also completely bonkers. Mad as a hatter."

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” -- Aristotle

"Power the world with six towers..., no."

Perfectly possible, but would be hugely wasteful of energy. Maybe one day when we have abundant energy, but I suspect even then we would like efficiency, except for a few things where convenience is more important. For now we use the technology to transfer power between sealed sections of UK submarines, and a previous gen of the technology is used in those "wireless charging" mats.

"'Knock down a building with a small clockwork mechanism...', no."

The theory of resonance is quite well understood now, and a powerful enough mechanism could knock down a building if the correct resonant frequency was found.

Building a small compact mechanism that can do it is tricky, but I don't think there has been much study into it. Primarily because if you want to knock down a building, you might as well skip the intricate clockwork mechanism, and brute force it with a seismic bomb.

2
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Pokemon Go oh no no no, we're not reading your email, says gamemaker

Ogi
Black Helicopters

FBI and NSA, eh?

" FBI and NSA will be coming up with the next Pokemon title. "

I thought the current conspiracy is that the Nintendo Pokemon game is based on technology which was in fact made by a CIA sponsored team, for the purposes of mapping and surveying landscapes without having to send agents (and pay them) to do it themselves. Sort of a "gamification" of intelligence scouting/surveying.

In fact, here you go, tinfoil hat link and all provided: http://www.infowars.com/pokemon-go-linked-to-cia/

I'll let you all decide the merits of their case yourselves.

If true however, I would consider it a stroke of genius for whoever thought to turn it into a game, and get yourself an army of people willing to spend their time and money for virtual trinkets to provide you with this intelligence.

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Bitcoin child abuse image pervs will be hunted down by the IWF

Ogi

"I was under the impression that Bitcoin can't be tracked. "

The Bitcoin blockchain is a public distributed ledger, every single transaction is in full public view. The problem is associating a Bitcoin address with a physical person (you can have as many you want, people even generate a new one per transaction) .

I suspect what they are doing here is monitoring transactions until they hit an exchange (to convert into other currency), at which point they will pressure the exchange for information on their client. Likewise anyone who buys bitcoins which are then used to buy said nasty, they can trace back to the exchange that sold the coins, and likewise ask for details.

This of course, only works if the crims actually exchange the Bitcoins in a jurisdiction that is cooperative, and don't make use of tumblers and other such stuff to hide the trail.

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Wealthy youngsters more likely to be freetards than anyone else – study

Ogi

Re: What's missing is how this changes over time...

Yes, but computer savvy people are not the target market for them. Yes, we can run ad-blockers, we know (or hear about) which torrent sites are good and not scams, we can generally work out whether a movie is a cam rip, or BDrip, we recognize our preferred release groups, and so on. We can even use VPNs, encrypted torrent clients and all that to bypass filters, or traffic shaping, etc...

Coupled with the fact we run "alternative" OSes and configurations, means the "seamless experience" that apparently can be provided by online streaming services are useless to us. Compared to an unencumbered standards compliant file, there is no competition.

Thing is, the average person cannot do this. They go online, probably type "download movie_X free", and go god knows which arse-end-of the internet website where they will click on some fake download button and get infected with something that sends the contents of their computer to Nigeria. Even if they have heard of "Bittorrent", there are plenty of scam bittorrent sites out there as well. For these people, having a single place where they login, put in their payment details, click "watch" and off they go is enough, in fact better for them than the alternative (not everyone has a friendly nerd with a massive home file server full of media nearby). Things like DRM and that whole battle they may not even be aware of until it bites them in the arse, at which point it is too late.

I know where you are coming from, I would not touch any of the paid streaming sites with a barge pole myself, for the reasons you mentioned. However I know I am in a minority in the world, and that I am not their target market.

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Ogi

Re: What's missing is how this changes over time...

Yes, it is a big deal. Before P2P became a big thing the media companies had no competition (home taping just couldn't scale, and you would get degradation with each generational copy), so they could charge as much as they wanted for the worst of service/value for money.

Now they have to compete, and not only that, they have to compete with "free". So they have to provide a better experience, an experience worth paying for over getting it for free. It seems that their primary tools are convenience and instant streaming, both which save time.

There is no need to wonder dodgy ad/virus laden sites, download $x number of copies of "new_movie_X" (and wait for the download to complete) until you find one that is actually decent, and is not a poor cam version with Chinese hard coded subtitles (not to mention cost of local storage of said media, unless you just delete it, but then will have to find a decent copy again).

It does also mean that if they ever go back to their old ways, people will just switch back to P2P, and so a balance is achieved. Some will never pay for content, because the content is more expensive than their time to find it online (i.e. lower income, and people in poorer countries), others make enough money that the time spent digging around P2P is not worth it, and it is better to just pay for an official stream and be done with it.

Where that "Should I buy or download it" cut off point is, will vary with market conditions and how much the companies squeeze the patrons until they switch sides, so we are in an equilibrium for now.

6
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Astroboffins discover rapid 'electric winds' blowing on Venus

Ogi

Re: Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

The earth is going in that direction regardless of what we are doing. As the sun ages (on its way to a red giant) it will swell up, increasing surface temperatures on earth until we end up looking like Mercury (and may be eventually absorbed by the sun).

Of course, this is on phenomenal time scales, so we will not notice the gradual temp increase ourselves.

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Meet the 1,000 core chip that can be powered by an AA battery

Ogi

Sounds like a transputer

I remember these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transputer

Essentially the idea was to link up many processors using an interconnect, in order to provide stupid amounts of parallelism.

It didn't take off at the time because CPU improvements in clock speed and die size was surpassing Inmos'es ability to keep up, so they were always expensive for what they were. Also people by and large were still programming for single core machines, and there was a lack of tools and compilers for it. As such getting programmers for it was expensive too.

However now as we are hitting a slowdown in die shrinking, along with a general improvement in tools/compilers/languages for programming parallel systems, perhaps it is time to revisit transputers. I have been thinking it is since GPGPUs started taking off.

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How's your driving, Elon? Musk tweets that Tesla Model S 'floats'

Ogi

Re: I would like to know

Yeah but high voltages and water do not mix. Either you get a nasty short (and possible fire as a bunch of current gets dumped quickly), or you get accelerated corrosion and failure of the electrics, and possibly some interesting gasses released due to electrolysis.

Especially as electric cars tend to have the battery and motors as low down as possible to keep the centre of gravity near the floor.

In flooded cars the engine/mechanics are relatively unscathed*, it is the soggy interior and electrics that renders the car unusable most of the time. In petrol cars it is water shorting something in the electrics which causes the engine to stall most of the time when driving through water.

I would be more concerned driving an electric car through water than a petrol one, and a diesel one even would concern me even less

(*) assuming you didn't hydrolock the engine

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Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image. Repeat. Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image

Ogi

Re: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish...

You could try Devuan. http://devuan.org/ They made a point of never supporting systemd.

I switched to them when a Debian upgrade on my laptop installed systemd and promptly broke the system (systemd would hang indefinitely at boot) forcing a reinstall.

Reading about systemd and its design philosophy had already put me off, as it reminded me too much of the mistakes Windows did. Sure it makes it easy for clueless "admins" to manage a machine, but kills the power and flexibility of Unix, and you can't delve down easily when debugging a misbehaving machine (the systemd shell is not a real alternative). All reasons why I left Windows for Linux/Unix in the first place.

I started the transition with my test VMs, with no problems at all. Now am transitioning my physical Debian machines across to it as upgrade time rolls round. Then I will move over my web/email hosting servers and that will be it.

I moved my server over to FreeBSD though, ZFS is awesome!

Between those two operating systems, I will never have to touch systemd, so RedHat and their cheerleaders/minions can have Pottering's latest turd for all I care.

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

Ogi

Re: damn

"You've got a point. And much as the engineer in me rebels at championing any form of inefficiency:"

Depends on the way you see it. A totally inefficient police state is an efficient free state, no? :-)

History has an excellent example of how efficient the German police state can be (and in general, it took the combined forces of the world to stop them), and I would rather not have that again.

So, a state and its government should be as inefficient and incompetent as can be, otherwise everyone suffers. It is a bit illogical, but when dealing with humans, that is not uncommon.

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Ogi

Re: damn

"Just another police state lacking the redeeming grace of German efficiency."

Quite frankly, if I have to live in a police state, I would rather it be in an inefficient and incompetent one. So +1 vote for the UK there from me.

6
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'Whites are taking over': Race storm hits heart of Africa's internet body

Ogi

Re: both previous comments are valid but...

"There are people in Africa who were oppressed by the slave trade, but (except for some Liberians) they were oppressed by other Africans."

Not only that, but in the past white folk were slaves to the black men. Specifically the North Africans used to trade in white peoples who were enslaved by conquest, or by raids on coastal villages. Mostly in Southern Europe by the Moors and the Arabs.

Slavery is as old as time, and almost every "skin colour" person has been at the receiving end of it at some point in history. How far back are we going to go with finger pointing and excuses for current problems ?

Hell, some even consider debt the modern form of bondage, hence the term "debt slave".

16
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Aquaboffins sink lost Greek city theory

Ogi

Re: Pyramids scam scotched

Well, at least the Bosnians have embraced the capitalistic spirit of "A Fool and their money are soon parted". Works in other parts of the world too.

4
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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Ogi

That "Verified by Visa" crap is the only reason I use a credit card ( Credit cards don't prompt the verified by visa window when online shopping). Really VbV the most useless thing I have ever seen, and works so rarely that it can make a 2 minute online shop last 30+ minutes.

Quite frankly, things are going in such a bad direction with banking, that I have switched to cash only. Apart from the credit card for online purchases, everything else is cash. No need for a card reader, a PIN, some sort of fancy in-phone-contactless-app crap or other tracking system wrapped in a security nightmare that I will be liable for. When I want to buy something I just put down the cash, with no faf.

I also rediscovered the joy of actually going into my branch and dealing with my account with a human being. Usually I can get problems fixed quickly, and my complaints have to be dealt there and then by the manager rather than a ticket logged somewhere in Bangalore after waiting 30+ minutes on the phone. Of course, because everyone does online banking now, the branch is usually really empty as well.

Although I concede that not everyone has a local branch nearby, I would imagine most do. Bank branches are pretty common, along with a pub and post office, even in small towns.

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Daft draft anti-car-hack law could put innocent drivers away for life

Ogi

Re: Bah

I foresee a thriving future industry of ripping out all the stock electrics/computers in a car, and replacing them with open source alternatives that give full control over the car back to the owners, as it should be.

Which of course, is why they are trying to make such modifications illegal.

3
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Dutch students serve up world's first 'drone café'

Ogi

Re: Rule 34

Well... not a fleshlight, but for the lonely woman (or man, if that is your particular bent):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZCVG7zUaRA (NSFW, depending on how puritan your workplace is)

1
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Why we should learn to stop worrying and love legacy – Fujitsu's UK head

Ogi

Or the 2000's, with i-this, i-that, i-everything. Although that has somewhat spilled into the 2010's.

No idea if there is a designated letter for the 2010's though...

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London to Dover 'smart' road could help make driverless cars mainstream – expert

Ogi

Re: computer aided burglary.

To be honest, I think that died out when car radios became really quite cheap. For £30 you can buy a brand new mp3/bluetooth/dab/latest_flashy_thing online, which works just fine in your car, and comes with a guarantee. Why would I risk buying something with scratches and wires sticking out, from a dodgy guy down the pub? Even for £10 it really isn't worth it. Not to mention the age old story of the thief then taking note of your car, finding out where you live, and nicking the radio all over again to resell.

Then there was the whole "Radio PIN" thing, and detachable covers, which made it harder to resell. Even if you knew a bent reprogrammer, and after paying them to work their magic you would find you might end up with a fiver profit.

Along the same lines, car alarm systems got better and better, so it rarely was worth the risk just for the radio. If you have to disable the entire alarm system just to get at the car radio, you might as well take the whole car at that point.

And yes, those custom in car entertainment systems are harder to get out of the car, but go on ebay and you will still find a raft of them. Turns out some of them are quite expensive even second hand.

I do think though, that there has been a reduction in car thefts. From what I can see, criminals target bikes round my area far more. Which makes sense, bikes are easier to nick, easier to keep hidden, easier to break for parts in your living room, and some loons will actually spend £2-4000 on a bike, meaning a decent profit for not much effort. Had a neighbour complain that it would cost her £100 for a new bike wheel, because someone nicked hers (she locked the frame and rear wheel only). Never knew that bike wheels have become so expensive.

Every morning in the early hours, outside my building, you can hear saws and hammers as the local youths try to break the bike locks in the bike parking area, yet nobody touches cars any more. Probably because there are very few chop shops around nowadays, and not everyone has the space to break a stolen car for parts without anyone noticing.

0
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Labour: We want the Snoopers' Charter because of Snowden

Ogi

Re: You can see what they're aiming at

@Tomato42

Indeed, or even Turkey, which has gone all in into authoritarianism, shutting down all media ( and arresting journalists) that are not pro-government. Not a peep from anyone in Europe, in fact Turkey just got 6 billion EUR and a fast-track membership offer.

Interestingly, the justification there is that by being against the current government's policies, they are "supporting terrorism". Funny considering two of those arrested were done so because they exposed Turkey's support for ISIS. So its all a matter of definitions really.

Food for thought, what with all the "anti-terror" laws on the books nowadays, at some point having a non-govt approved opinion may well qualify for application of said laws, especially when the government gets to decide what is terrorism. It happened in Turkey, could it happen here?

2
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Fail0verflow GitHubs PS4 Linux loader

Ogi

Re: I just... why?

Opera was the only one on the N900 that I found fast and usable, so set it as my default. Not sure if it supports HTML5 (my n900 has ceased turning on unfortunately :( ) but all sites I visited worked well and looked good up until 2015.

0
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Ogi

Re: I just... why?

> Frankly, if you penguins are wanting to do something unusual, write a proper replacement browser for my N900 and its aging MicroB. Now THAT would be useful!

Just to ask, what is wrong with Firefox or Opera on the N900? Sure out of date by modern phone browsers, but far better than microB. It is even the pre-webkit Opera, which I think was one the best out there.

1
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Microsoft has made SQL Server for Linux. Repeat, Microsoft has made SQL Server 2016 for Linux

Ogi

Hmm... perhaps we need to do some more testing/research?

Worst case scenario... its raining roast bacon pieces!

0
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Ogi

Re: Imagine my joy

Aaah "Vigor", back when "obligatory xkcd" was "obligatory userfriendly strip":

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20000108

One of the first online comics I found, and got me hooked on the medium. Still one of my all time fave comics, and now I feel old, lol.

2
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Flash is too fat. A glut of supply means growth is slower and slower

Ogi

Re: Flash is the future - in a way

Yeah,

I switched to SSD for my root/boot drive on all my machines. 64GB is enough on my laptop, and the desktop has 32GB SSD, 500GB Disk, and mounts storage from my file server (which is a BSD box, running ZFS with 2x128GB SSD read/write cache and 8 disks for long term storage).

I last benchmarked the file server at 700MB/s, which is much faster than I can really push it (gigabit ethernet). Having a hybrid disk/SSD setup is the way forward I think. I don't notice the slow speed of the disks because I hardly ever read/write more than 128GB at once. As such my working set sits in the SSD caches, and get dumped to the drives over time. Essentially like a tiered storage solution.

The laptop and desktop boot so fast, and are so responsive now, that the SSD was a better investment than a new computer.

The only reason I don't put a disk it on the laptop as well is because of space/power constraints, although in theory I can replace the DVD drive bay with a second disk bay, and put in some spinning rust there.

I looked into replacing the 8 disks in the FS with SSDs and getting rid of the two cache SSD's, but 1TB SSDs are still waay too expensive for a SOHO environment (unless you really need the raw performance). I suspect that by the time 1TB SSDs come to the price of a 1TB hdd, we will probably have 14TB disk drives, and a hybrid system can give you decent performance with better storage.

0
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Intel shows budget Android phone powering big-screen Linux

Ogi

" Reason one is that only the technically proficient will want to use something like that. The market would possibly sustain one or two models at best but not enough to satisfy the corporate greed involved. " ---

Indeed, parent basically described the old n900, which was a Linux PC with a phone slaved to it. I loved mine, lots of nerds loved theirs (so much they tried to resurrect it with the neo900), but the wider world went "meh", until Apple came along with the iPhone.

What we want, is not what the public wants. The n900 didn't even manage to sustain one model in the market, let alone more. And that was back in 2009, when the competition wasn't as fierce as now, and the "app market" was still not totally captive by Apple/Google.

Maybe with persistence, marketing and refinement it could have been number 3 in the mobile OS options list, but Nokia couldn't financially sustain it, and after Elop got a hold of Nokia, a Linux based phone had no chance of surviving.

Now, I think the best we can hope for is some sort of hybrid like this. Still not sure of the security implications. There are so many apps on my phone, and I don't trust any of them not to be buggy or malicious, that I refrain from logging into sensitive places.

I have actually taken to carrying a second phone, running Cyanogenmod without any apps just for SSH and other sensitive stuff.

At this point I have been pondering starting an OSS project to take AOSP, or Cyanogen mod, and rip out all the stuff down to the bare essentials to run the phone and wifi, then build a GNU Linux distro on top of it. No Apps, no Android compatibility, but as close to a Linux OS as you can get, something akin to my old N900, or if I can't get the phone bits to work, my old N810.

7
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Eurovision Song Contest uncorks 1975 vote shocker: No 'Nul point'!

Ogi

" inexplicably - the EBU said "Nope."

Replace "inexplicably" with "didn't offer enough cash to the right people. I don't think it is a geographical constraint on who can join Eurovision, just depends on whether enough palms are greased, and whether the expense is worth it for the country that wants to partake.

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