* Posts by RIBrsiq

187 posts • joined 15 Nov 2009

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

RIBrsiq
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Facepalm

"the outer atmosphere of the sun is much, much hotter [than the sun's core or EAST's plasma. Context is unclear]".

No, it isn't:

http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/st5/SCIENCE/sun.html

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Roll up, roll up to the Malware Museum! Run classic DOS viruses in your web browser

RIBrsiq
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Windows

Ah, the endless fun of using Sourcer to fiddle with One-Half, NATAS and Whale...!

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Forget Tiger Woods – here's Cyber Woods: Robot golfer hits hole-in-one during tournament

RIBrsiq
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I thought robots preferred Krikkit...?

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When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

RIBrsiq
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Pint

"I'm ashamed to say this took a good week and two engineers to work out,"

Eh...? Actual programmers were they? Or civil engineers or what have you?

Anyway, thanks for making me feel good about spotting the issue as soon as I read the relevant code even almost... 15 years, I think it's been...? God $deity! But time flies!!... since I last actually wrote any code.

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Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

RIBrsiq
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Re: Old Linux Steam Client ...

"Seriously, this is a pretty specific nuclear option, in which the user has jumped through 3 separate hoops to make it unsafe".

...and if the user didn't fully intend to nuke the whole file system, you'd be perfectly right.

But they probably *did* intend to nuke the file system, and *only* the file system. Not the firmware.

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RIBrsiq
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"Which Windows also does".

In what way is that relevant to how Linux does things...?

Besides, AFAIK, Windows does not mount the firmware under the FS. If it does, I would really appreciate knowing where to, so as to avoid mishaps.

"The entire /cat directory for one, and the entire /sys for another. Deleting these is... bad".

Not if one's wiping the system anyway.

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RIBrsiq
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FAIL

I am all for allowing root and root-like users to brick the system they're running on, if the user so chooses. "With great power..." and so on, you know. But... if the user so chooses.

Mounting bits of the firmware in obscure places in the filesystem tree cannot be the best way to handle things, surely...?

I mean when you see "rm -rf /", what do you think that will do, if someone ran up to you in the street and asked you? "Wipe all disks" would be what comes to my mind and, I am willing to bet, the minds of most people who should know this stuff.

Only retroactively would I think that maybe the FS tree might have held bits of the system that aren't actually on disks.

And why take this risk...? So some script can pipe stuff into firmware variables directly? Who thought this is a good idea, anyway? Madness!

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Brit boffins get green light to edit human genome

RIBrsiq
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Go

Re: Progress

@James 51:

Yes, we should. We *always* should.

One of the things we "should", for example, is find out exactly why and how sickle cell helps against malaria and how we can have the same effect *without* the whole "anaemia" bit, which is a bummer.

We should also completely eliminate malaria, of course.

On a larger scale: of course we don't understand all the ramifications of what gene editing will do! But that's rather the whole point, really: we never will if we do not allow smart people to fiddle with things and find out what they do and how they do the things that they do.

Maybe later we will decide that some things should not be done. But first we need to find out exactly what can be done and what effects it will have. Preferably in a regulated and controlled environment out in the open where everyone can see it, understand it and then discuss it somewhat intelligently.

As it is, the genome seems filled with random useless junk left over from all that evolution. I am sure some of it will turn out not to be so useless after all. But I am also sure that other bits will turn out to be worse than useless and we'll decide to eradicate *those* bits. But first we need to understand.

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AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

RIBrsiq
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I speak for no one else, but my job doesn't give meaning to my existence. It's the thing I do to get paid and pay the bills.

Now, what I would like to do is connected to the job I do, so I am lucky that way. I know that others are luckier in that what they like to do is precisely the job they do. But I also know that for most the overlap is less than in my case.

What am I getting at...? Well: I, for one, would not mind switching to an economy of plenty where money is no more and everyone does what they want to do because all the basic stuff is all done by machines.

Being unemployed is not the problem, you see. Being unpaid is. At least if one has bills to pay.

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How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

RIBrsiq
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Joke

Re: Wake me when we get there

I don't know how long interstellar travel will take to perfect, but I think necromancy will take even longer.

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RIBrsiq
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Happy

Re: Hmm...

It's only the 'B' Arc colonists that survive, mind!

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RIBrsiq
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@JimC

That's possible, yes.

But what is probable, given our understanding of the universe, is that if you keep waiting for FTL then you'll never leave.

Besides, if a ship with colonists from any part of the world 300 years ago were to sail into any port on the planet, wouldn't both humanity and the lost colonists be better off for it...?

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RIBrsiq
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Re: Coms

"Hence, its likely that any such endeavour would not get any results in the lifetime of those that sent it. That would make it a fairly hard sell to get funding".

Not necessarily.

Consider the situation faced by Majikthise and Vroomfondel when Deep Thought tells them how long it would take to calculate the Answer.

Admittedly, it would take a politician more talented than the common variety to properly spin things.

More practically, while the results of the expedition -- if any -- will only be learned by future generations -- if any -- the engineering developed to pull something like this off would be available for use immediately.

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Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

RIBrsiq
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Headmaster

Re: Very Impressive

"I tried doing a PhD in AI and theory of cognition and dropped it after a year".

So what you are saying is that you are specifically and particularly not qualified to judge what an AI is or isn't, yes...?

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'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

RIBrsiq
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Re: Hypervisors aren't inherently safe

"Hypervisors aren't inherently safe, even if they aim to be".

All code is inherently buggy, yes.

Hell, even HW is buggy:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/01/intel-skylake-bug-causes-pcs-to-freeze-during-complex-workloads/

So I guess there's a case to be made for "defence in depth" for Important Stuff™. But probably not applicable for most workloads, I think.

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RIBrsiq
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I find that I need a "proceed with caution" icon, as this is a bit outside my area of expertise and thus what I am about to write might be less sage wisdom and more senseless drivel.

Well, more so than usual, anyway:

It seems to me that if a VM is running only a single application anyway, then a DOS-like approach might not be so senseless, if it gives a performance boost and/or makes life easier for the application and/or the OS and their developers. After all, it's now the hypervisor that's separating the different VMs and their applications, protecting the system (IE, the virtualization host and all the different running VMs) from those that misbehave.

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US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

RIBrsiq
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Trollface

So, answer this question, please:

* What else could he possibly have done to get mentioned everywhere; even on totally unrelated sites such as here? Something that wouldn't involve years in jail, preferably?

Seems like a particularly successful PR campaign, to me...

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Boffins celebrate 30th anniversary of first deep examination of Uranus

RIBrsiq
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Headmaster

Re: ice giant?

"I sometimes wonder how much of my degree course is actually still true".

What is now untrue was always thus. We just didn't know any better at the time.

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How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

RIBrsiq
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Re: Start Button

@Stuart 22:

Thank you, kind Sir.

Your valiant efforts protecting the vulnerable from being ruthlessly fleeced are duly noted and appreciated. I will try to keep your idea in mind, should a similar opportunity arise... Might pretend I still have a DESQView installation and see how that goes.

And KDE is indeed rather nice.

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RIBrsiq
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Holmes

Start Button -- which came about with Windows 95 -- not found "in the early 1990s".

Sounds reasonable, to me.

But entertaining yarn, nonetheless. Thank you.

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The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

RIBrsiq
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Re: So what are we supposed to think?

"Most amusing for me is the clash of conservationism and evolution".

I guess you could say that, if your idea of evolution is to throw animals off of a cliff and expect them to evolve wings on the way down.

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RIBrsiq
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Re: So what are we supposed to think?

One problem with climate change, you see, is all the infrastructure and cities and stuff we've built on the assumption it will not change...

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RIBrsiq
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Go

A pleasant change to see proper science filed under "Science", at good old El Reg!

Well done.

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RIBrsiq
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Facepalm

Re: Back in the 70's...

Ice age predicted in the '70s, eh...?

Let me try to help you with that, and maybe a couple of other misconceptions:

https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

Specifically:

"The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming".

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Pentagon fastens lasers to military drones to zap missiles out of the skies

RIBrsiq
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Re: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a UAV circling over my missile silo.

@AC:

"It does not matter how good your weapons are if you arm idiots with them".

Those same "idiots" actually did pretty well in '73, in terms of air defence...

Anyway, from Wikipedia (feel free to check the sources cited):

"The complete dominance of U.S. and Israeli technology and tactics over those of the Eastern Bloc was to have been a factor that hastened the demise of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union".

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RIBrsiq
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Re: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a UAV circling over my missile silo.

@Lysenko:

* Are you seriously arguing that no new weapon systems can ever be developed? My point was that state-of-the-art weapons of both sides at the time were tested against each other.

* Glad you mentioned Gary Powers: would anyone have cared if no pilot were involved in that incident...?

* How about swarms of autonomous drones some of which are anti-air and some of which are just waiting for SAMs to expose themselves so they can take them out? Would that work, in your opinion? How long would the airspace remain defended?

* Attacking strategic weapons is inviting immediate MAD. Deploying defences "just in case" is insurance against same in case your opponent turns out to be plain-old mad. Besides, it would also work against tactical missiles, if it can be aimed quickly enough.

BTW: don't expect laser (or shark!) equipped drones to be deployed any time soon. But work needs to start for feasibility to be determined. Not every single attempt at developing a new weapon ends in success, you know. The majority probably don't, in fact.

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RIBrsiq
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Happy

Re: "Sadly no plans for sharks as yet"

"but it gives plausible deniability for assassinations"

Exactly!

I think you'd fit right in, at DARPA... ;)

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RIBrsiq
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Re: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a UAV circling over my missile silo.

I hope we never find out what a shooting war involving the US vs. Russia or China -- or, for that matter, Russia vs. China -- looks like.

But there were three modern conflicts I can think of that pitted US gear against relatively well-equipped and deployed adversaries with Soviet/Russian gear:

* The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon involved IAF vs. Syrian SAM deployment that by all accounts surpassed that of the earlier '73 war.

* The first Gulf War was against an experienced Iraqi army fresh from a decade fighting Iran.

* The NATO operation in Kosovo.

None were the cakewalk typical of later conflicts, true. But also none were really a challenge, in military terms: one does not conduct military operations with the expectation of sustaining no casualties at all.

Speaking of which: drones are, if you think about it, the perfect match for the challenges faced by the US. Money is not the problem, you see, and a drone being shot down is highly unlikely to grab headlines and lead to "stop the war!" demonstrations.

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RIBrsiq
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Re: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a UAV circling over my missile silo.

"And nobody would decide to do something to detect UAVs around silo areas?"

I believe it's not the "detecting" they're not worried about.

If you look over the last few conflicts in which the US were involved, you'll see that they pretty much had complete control of the airspace almost from the word "go!". As the US has a military budget rivalling the next 10 countries on the planet combined, last time I looked, this trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Even if the UAV is shot down using a SAM, it would still count as a win as most probably the US can afford a new UAV much more readily than their adversary can afford a new missile and, most probably, a new SAM battery and trained crew to run it as the one that launched that missile is now a smoking crater.

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RIBrsiq
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Go

"Sadly no plans for sharks as yet"

Sharks on drones...?

Interesting...

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Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA

RIBrsiq
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Joke

Making a small fortune, Trump-style

* First, you start with a big fortune...

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French say 'Non, merci' to encryption backdoors

RIBrsiq
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"Not sure how Cameron is going to U-turn..."

Well, I'm not a politician, but I think:

"I'm not a mathematician or IT security professional, as you know. And once the facts had been made sufficiently clear to me I changed my mind".

...should work famously.

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After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

RIBrsiq
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Happy

Re: Don't bother with GNS3

"Do yourself a favor and research IOS for Linux. Far better option if you can find it".

I am still sharpening the axe, so thanks for the hint!

Obviously, if it turns out to be a horribly illegal thing, then I will have nothing to do with it!!

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RIBrsiq
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Re: Fails to mention blistering fast install time of Linux Mint 17.3

Let's first get the useful stuff out of the way:

The best way to do the odd Windows install is to install Windows 10.

But if you simply must install 7, then your best bet is to just smile and let Windows Update do its thing. It's a multi-hour process, but it will get there eventually. And you don't have to babysit it, so you can do useful stuff and check back on it every few hours.

Now other things:

"The fundamental operation of Windows Update has changed little since 1995".

Oh, I don't know about that. It seems to me that there are substantial differences in the process between even the Windows XP days and today; you should even be able to notice the visual differences in the installation process, without getting under the hood. I should know, as I have been cooking updated Windows images since then.

On the other hand, updating a circa-2009CE Linux image would be a vastly different experience because, I think, it would basically be impossible: the oldest Ubuntu release still supported dates back to 2012CE, according to the information I can find.

I am not criticizing, here. Just pointing out the differences. Linux and Windows are different OSes doing different things, with different levels of support and different legal obligations. Microsoft have to do many of the things the way they do them because of the way they have to do things. I know that's a bit of a circular sentence; that's intentional.

And what happens when Microsoft try to get a bit pro-active about getting people to update to the latest release...? "We hate GWX!" pitch-fork parties, of course!!

LOL!

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RIBrsiq
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@Adam Jarvis

If you install Windows -- especially 7 -- on a regular basis, it pays to integrate all updates using DISM, I think. That way, you avoid having to go through several cycles of updates and download gigabytes of data; which can get old pretty fast even over a GigE link from WSUS. Cuts down the total number of needed updates from 200+ to about 5, in my experience.

Not to mention that Windows Update will do spectacularly stupid things, if you let it. Such as update IE9, replace it with IE11 and *then* update that!

On the other hand, if you do an install every few months or something, then it's probably not worth the hours needed to get this done right. And I would urge everyone not to download updated images from the Internet, naturally! You don't, after all, know where it's been... ;-)

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RIBrsiq
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Thumb Up

Glad to read this. I am planning a Linux-based GNS3 lab for CCIE, and I was pondering which distro I should go with. This article helped make up my mind.

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RIBrsiq
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Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

"Anyone like to suggest something else? Am I likely to have more luck with one of the BSDs?"

This is so basic that I hesitate to ask, but have you made sure that the HW is OK? If the RAM is flaky, it would lead to random failures that are rather frustrating to track down, for example.

I believe some flavour of MemTest86+ is included on the Mint installation disc, if you haven't ruled that out.

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Aircraft now so automated pilots have forgotten how to fly

RIBrsiq
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"Pilots have forgotten how to fly".

Seems like the right direction for things to take. Because it seems to me that every time I read why a particular air accident has happened, it's pilot error.

Exceptions exist, of course, such as the awesome Captain Chesley Sullenberger landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson river back in 2009CE. But many more depressing cases of "controlled flight into terrain", it seems.

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

RIBrsiq
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Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

"Non-reversible plugs are much preferred, and non-reversible plugs where it is bloody obvious which way round is correct (unlike USB plugs) are the best".

My vote is for reversible plugs such that it doesn't matter how something is plugged in.

It's hard to manage, but I have seen what happens when the standard Molex power connectors used for old IDE drives, which should not be reversible, are reversed nonetheless. It's not pretty.

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No escape: Microsoft injects 'Get Windows 10' nagware into biz PCs

RIBrsiq
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I love Windows 10, myself. And everyone (all Windows users, that is, obviously) will upgrade eventually. That's just how it is: we all loved Windows 2000 (XP was at SP2 before I started widely installing it), but how many of us are still running it...?

But I wouldn't want any business PCs auto-upgrading to it, really. With any OS upgrade ever, there's always the chance some apps will break. When that happens, you'd want whoever passes for tech support in the given environment right there to take hopefully-appropriate action, not busy with something else or taking a vacation or whatever.

Coupled with the already negative reaction to GWX by many -- well, at least a very vocal few -- this is a rather bad move on Microsoft's part, I think.

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Seagate floats out 10TB HDD filled with lifting gas

RIBrsiq
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All these new magnetic disk technological developments seem to me like that mythical band playing on the Titanic as it sank: a brave and impressive technical feat for sure, but ultimately doomed.

I just hope the engineering thus developed will have some use elsewhere.

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Future Snowden hunt starts with audit of NSA spooks' privileges

RIBrsiq
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Re: @Naselus

I think the point Naselus was trying to make is that Snowden's earlier behaviour would suggest that he would go public if he found out that mass surveillance was taking place. I do not see any implications regarding any prior (ill-)intent on the part of Snowden or, indeed, any judgment as to whether what Snowden did was good or bad.

My thanks to Naselus for pointing this out; I was not aware of it. Assuming it's accurate, it would support my feeling regarding the leak being planned by higher echelons of the NSA or beyond: one does not, after all, let go of a lead-weight in Earth's atmosphere and expect it to float up like a helium balloon.

You know, this is a funny feeling: I tend to be against conspiracy theories, usually. Yet here I am finding that the simplest explanation I can come up with for the facts I have is a conspiracy worthy of a movie plot. But I simply see no other evidence that the NSA are this incompetent. Indeed, everything else I know points to them being one of the best entities on the planet in doing what they do, regardless whether you agree with it or not.

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RIBrsiq
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Black Helicopters

What always boggled my mind about the whole Snowden episode is the incompetence it implies at the NSA if he truly were able to just copy all those files.

What I choose to believe instead is that he copied what he was supposed to copy.

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Eric Schmidt, for one, welcomes our new robot overlords

RIBrsiq
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"Exterminate 49% of the world's human population. That's one possible take on empathy for you".

Your definition of "empathy" does not resemble our Earth definition.

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RIBrsiq
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Joke

Of course Sarah Connor travels through time!

Forwards at the rate of one second per second (taking into account relativistic effects and so on), same as everything else.

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RIBrsiq
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Boffin

I must admit that I never saw the threat of AI, myself.

I mean, sure, the leading intelligence on the planet will no longer be organic. But so what? I, for one, am perfectly comfortable with the fact that I am not the most intelligent entity on this planet. And human civilization will still go on. Along with the humans I think, if it's up to AI to decide this. Damned sight more likely for humans to survive longer if the key decisions were taken by someone much more intelligent, if you ask me!

As to the movie vision of AI coldly destroying humanity, well, think about it: as humanity advanced, we, as a culture, became increasingly empathetic; we care more for fellow humans now than we did in the past. And I suspect people'd look at you like you'd come from another planet if you brought up the concept of animal rights just a few centuries ago. Or the possibility that some animals might in fact have intelligence comparable to our own and should, therefore, get equal rights.

Now, what is the one thing that we can be fairly certain of regarding AI...? That it will from the start -- or very soon thereafter -- exceed human intelligence. That's the whole source of the threat, in fact, as classically portrayed.

So why would increased intelligence suddenly lead to less empathy, in total contradiction of everything we have so far observed?

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Trend Micro AV gave any website command-line access to Windows PCs

RIBrsiq
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Re: Pick your poison

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy.

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RIBrsiq
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"[Trend Micro] need to hire a professional security consultant to audit it urgently".

Ouch! That has to hurt.

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Cisco forgot its own passwords for seven weeks

RIBrsiq
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"If the password is a derivative of the MAC address it can be determined remotely".

If the attacker is getting the MAC address then they're not very remote, are they...?

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RIBrsiq
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When it comes to default passwords, I would quite like a variation of TP-Link's -- of all people -- practice adopted everywhere.

TP-Link clearly mark the default password on the label with the serial number and so on, you see. Which makes it easy to service stuff for which, naturally, the documentation has long since been lost without asking Google.

Now what I would like is for the password to be a derivative of the serial number -- or MAC address, etc. Whatever is appropriate for the type of gear in question -- so that it cannot easily be guessed by a remote attacker.

Well, a way to clear just the password such as on proper network gear would be best, I guess. But not everything has a readily-accessible serial port, and this does not make sense in every case, anyway.

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