* Posts by MacroRodent

817 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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NINETY PER CENT of Java black hats migrate to footling Flash

MacroRodent
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Firefox too

Another significant factor is that Firefox has started to prevent Java plugins from being run, unless you ask for it. But a Microsoft guy of course would disregard that.

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Japan showcases really, really fast … whoa, WTF was that?!

MacroRodent
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Re: maglev is the way to go

This becomes less of an issue if the train is in a tube or tunnel (the proposed track between Tokyo and Nagoya is 80% underground!)

They should dig it all the way, and also evacuate (as far as practical) the air from the tunnel. That would allow it to go even faster (1000km/h ?).

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Yay, we're all European (Irish) now on Twitter (except Americans)

MacroRodent
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You cannot be compelled, as an EU citizen, to break EU law in order that a DIFFERENT US company satisfy a US court order.

In theory. In practice, if a senior guy from the parent company, say Twitter (US) comes to Ireland and tells an IT guy working at Twitter (Ireland) to hand the data or clear his desk, how many have the balls to resist the order?

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JavaScript CPU cache snooper tells crooks EVERYTHING you do online

MacroRodent
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Re: And Another Thing

Assumption - I am running a browser in a VM. The exploit can tell an attacker about anything else inside that VM but cannot "see" outside it.

Actually, the isolation breaks down because the CPU cache is shared by the VM, the host OS and other VM:s. What gets difficult is cache-mapping keystrokes that do not go into the VM running the snooper, but I would not be surprised if some really smart boffin finds a way around this, too.

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Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date

MacroRodent
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Re: DAB, what is that?

The strongest AM stations I hear on a regular radio in Helsinki seem to be all in Russian. I am not sure if their signal is strong enough for a simple chrystal radio. Perhaps with a good outdoor antenna. The old Helsinki station could be received with just a couple of meters of wire indoors.

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MacroRodent
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DAB, what is that?

Here in Finland, the experimental DAB broadcasts were stopped 10 years ago, since nobody was interested. No wonder. FM is good enough, and the receivers are practically free.

What irks me is they also stopped the last remaining AM transmitter near Helsinki. Now I cannot build a crystal radio with my kid... :-(

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Ravello unravels mystery of ESXi on AWS, Google

MacroRodent
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wheels within wheels within...

If I understood correctly, the result would be having your code running inside 3 layers of virtualization, because AWS & Google also run their clients virtualized. Surely there must be a cost in performance or reliability?

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Sysadmins, patch now: HTTP 'pings of death' are spewing across web to kill Windows servers

MacroRodent
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People seem to be forgetting that Apache had a DoS based on the range header back in 2011 as well. Windows isn't the only one that has issues.

You mean this: https://httpd.apache.org/security/CVE-2011-3192.txt

That bug killed only the user-level Apache server program, not the OS it was running on, and did not lead to any remote exploit. So it was much less serious, thanks to keeping the http server out of the kernel.

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

MacroRodent
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The size obsession

So this too is larger than its predecessor.

The other day I was looking at a shop what was on offer in case I need to replace my Nokia Lumia 710 (mostly works well, but the browser is dated and is starting to have problems with modern web sites, and the camera is not too great), and was baffled by the large size of the phones, no matter which vendor.

I need my mobile phone to be mobile. The 710 is about the largest size that comfortably fits into my trousers' pocket, and it also has a nicely rounded shape. But all new phones with comparable features are larger, and many have sharp corners or edges. Are they really mobiles? I really would like to have a modern phone in a Lumia 710-shaped shell. Maybe I have to wait until the big size fashion passes.

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NSA: 'Back doors are a bad idea, give us a FRONT door key'

MacroRodent
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deja-vu

" the clipper chip saga."

Ah, that was why I thought I had seen this movie before. Bad ideas never die.

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Strange radio telescope signals came from microwave ovens

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

Re: Diet change

I guess they'll have to make lunch the old-fashion way... a stove or a thermal oven.

And a gas or wood burning one at that! I fact, I was surprised microwawe owens were allowed anywhere near such observatories, their potential for interference should've been obvious.

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ALIENS ARE COMING: Chief NASA boffin in shock warning

MacroRodent
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Re: Gross problems

I'm not convinced anything would remain alive on those exchanged rocks. They get very hot on both take-off and landing, and are cooked by radiation for thousands of years in between.

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MacroRodent
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Gross problems

" eventually going to take humans on the surface of Mars "

One problem here is that taking humans to Mars will almost certainly contaminate it with Earth microbes. (Where do the astronauts put their poo? They will certainly not take it back to Earth, for cost reasons). It would be safer to look for life with probes, which are easier to sterilize (and don't poo).

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Drill, baby, drill: HIDDEN glaciers ON MARS hold 150bn cubic metres of precious frozen WATER

MacroRodent
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Re: When is a billion not a billion?

Yes, as the discrepancy was about 1000x, this probably was the reason.

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Operation Redstone: Microsoft preps double Windows update in 2016

MacroRodent
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Re: LTS?

"You upgrade RHEL by nuking and installing from scratch."

Uh? This may be needed on major version jumps, but minor ones like 7.0-> 7.1 are upgraded in place.

Anyway, in corporate environments, IT doesn't want to hear anything about rolling releases in either Windows or Linux. Systems and in-house apps standardize on, say Windows 7 and RHEL5 for years, and major upgrading (apart from "patches") is done only when the disadvantages of sticking with the old start being painfully obvious. If Microsoft thinks they can dispense with clear versioning, then they will have trouble with the corporate market.

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Forget Nokia: Finland's promising future is to be server central

MacroRodent
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Finland and Scandinavia

doesn't share lingusitic or cultural traits with the three Scandinavian countries

Linguistically? no, Finnish is not related to any Germanic language, but note that about 5% of Finnish citizens have Swedish as their mother tongue, and the language has an official status here. Culturally, Finland is very similar to Scandinavian countries because of the long shared history. After all, for hundreds of years Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. We also have the same majority religion (Lutheran).

So the connection of Finland with Scandinavia is much more than "just happens to be in the neighbourhood".

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MacroRodent
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Foot-shooting

Finland is said to enjoy strong legal protection over government surveillance of data, particularly when compared to neighbouring Sweden.

That is the current situation, but in a fit of incomprehensible me-tooism, officials now want to change that and allow mass surveillance of the net. Pure stupidity. It would not really help with security (baddies can always find a way around such wiretapping when aware of it), and would remove one competitive advantage in the data centre business.

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On 50th anniversary of first spacewalk, Aurorae light up two planets

MacroRodent
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Re: Aurora on Mars?

I am guessing that a sufficiently strong blast from the Sun makes the Martian atmosphere glow at all latitudes. On Earth we see aurorae only in the north and south because the magnetosphere funnels the particles there, and concentrates them.

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Honey, I shrunk the Windows footprint

MacroRodent
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Re: Old update files

If you compress your program files, however, the whole file needs to be read and decompressed before the handful of pages you were interested in can actually be used.

Not necessarily. If using a transparently compressing file system along the lines of DoubleSpace, a file consists of a number of compressed blocks. You can access randomly something within the file, and the file system figures out which compressed block holds the data you are interested in, and uncompresses only that. DoubleSpace actually worked at the level of blocks, not files, in order to support an unchanged FAT file system on top of it. What FAT thought of as an allocation block was compressed and stored in from 1 to 8 (or was it 1 to 16) smaller blocks, depending on how much the block could be compressed.

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MacroRodent
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Windows

Decompression is fast

There's another 1.5GB to 2.5GB to be saved with compression of system files, but Microsoft says it won't put the squeeze on unless it can be done “ without compromising human-perceivable system responsiveness.”

Huh? Even in Pentium I days, compression&decompression was fast enough so that using "doublespace" or similar was feasible. What time the compressor took was more than made up by the reduction in disk I/O. (Personal experience, used doublespace to get most out of my 500Mb disk drive). Nowadays the gap between CPU and I/O speed is even larger, even on low-end gear, so this should be a no-brainer.

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ALIEN LIFE drenched in HOT FLUID on Jupiter's Ganymede – is that so?

MacroRodent
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Alien

Watery solar system

"Liquid water outside of Earth is very rare indeed, "

Not sure if we can say so any more. We now have strong evidence of three moons having ice-covered oceans (Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus), and there might be even more. Suppose we eventually find most of the liquid water in the solar system is not on Earth...

Several old sci-fi stories revolved around the idea that water is very rare outside Earth (like the TV series "V"(1983) where the aliens came to steal Earth's water). They seem quite dated now!

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Grab your pitchforks: Ubuntu to switch to systemd on Monday

MacroRodent
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Re: read around...

>> enough large distros have decided in favour of it

>Err have they ?

>AIUI Debian haven't decided in favour of it, more like determined that they don't have the resources to fight it !

I never said _all_ large distros, just _enough_ of them. Including the most commercially significant Red Hat (and its derivatives), and SUSE/OpenSUSE, and now it seems also Ubuntu. Sure there will be non-systemd distributions, which is fine, in fact desirable, to avoid monoculture. But it is now clear that those who work with Linux in their day job (like me) just have to learn the ins and outs of systemd.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Blame Microsoft for this

Once Microsoft decided they wanted to improve boot speed, some Linux people started worrying about it too, not wanting Windows to be able to boot faster than Linux.

Boot speed is important in many cases. Think cloud where you might set up a server very frequently. Or an embedded system where you want the device to start working as soon as possible after being turned on. (I just hate it how my shiny new flat-screen TV takes more time to become viewable than the old B/W valve-based TV from my childhood! - that at least had a good excuse for being slow: all the valves had to warm up first). Yes, SSD makes handling lots of small files more tolerable, but not having them in the first place is faster still. Another problem with traditional init is the large number of process launches that happen while processing the scripts. Process set-up eats CPU. Systemd avoids this, too.

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MacroRodent
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Re: read around...

(The logs and config may not be an issue with systemd if it has a decent text-mode viewing program - I honestly don't know!)

journalctl gives you pretty much what catting the log file gives. It also has various options for filtering the output, or printing in reverse. Still learning my way around systemd, but it clearly seems to be the future: enough large distros have decided in favour of it, so one either has to get used to it, or switch to some other OS (if you want BSD, you know where to find it), or some niche Linux distro. (No doubt holdouts will remain for a long time).

(where is the Borg icon?)

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Boffins say Mars had ocean covering 20 per cent of planet

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: Where did it go?

One theory I have read in some places blames the lack of Martian magnetic field, which allows particles from the Sun to blast away gases from the upper atmosphere. So the first step in terraforming Mars should be building a humoungous superconducting coil around the equator, and a big nuclear power plant to feed it :-)

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‪Obama criticises China's mandatory backdoor tech import rules

MacroRodent
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The Gemalto hack is the product of poor use of cryptography that requires the private key exist somewhere other than on the SIM.

Remember that back when GSM was designed (1980's), mandaring public-key cryptography might not have been feasible. The first GSM phones had very little processing power. We are lucky to have any cryptography at all in the spec, some countries still force it turned off or weakaned in their networks.

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FREAK show: Apple and Android SSL WIDE OPEN to snoopers

MacroRodent
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Re: A Question

Also, how long would factoring the 512 bit value take on a modern top of the line CPU you already might have in your PC? (Or if not the CPU, then the GPU).

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Bad movie: Hackers can raid networks with burnt Blu-Rays

MacroRodent
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Re: Java - again

There is nothing wrong with Java if you use it as a "normal" programming language. Used that way, it is safer than say C++. The trouble starts only when you try using it as a sandboxed runtime for executing code from unknown sources.

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Acer enters Windows Phone fray with cheap Liquid M220 mobe

MacroRodent
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Backing the underdog

We differentiate or die. We always do that. Windows Phone is an opportunity because no one is doing it at the moment.

Exactly same logic Nokia used when switching to Windows Phone. See how well that worked out.

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Assemblers were once people: My aunt did it for NASA

MacroRodent
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Re: The 60's and computers...

The prof introduced us to the instruction set of the year old intel 8008 and we ran the code on an 8008 simulator running on a CDC 6400.

At the Helsinki University of Techonology we had an actual 8008 machine, very obsolete even then in mid 1980's, but still used for some student exercises. We were to write a little program by hand in hex, for and burn it into an EPROM chip, and run (the simple 8008 machine had no other storage devices). I must admit I cheated a bit: I used a 8080 assembler (running it inside a CP/M emulator in a PC, a set-up I already had around because of other interests), and avoided those instructions that were not available (the 8008 instructions were a sub-set of 8080).

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Russia considers keeping its own half of the ISS alive after 2024

MacroRodent
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Re: That reminds me, I saw 2001 the other evening

Isn't the situation also a bit like "2010" where the astronauts&cosmonauts orbiting Jupiter are informed that a war has broken out between the countries.... (or something like that. Unlike "2001", I have seen "2010" only once; it is definitely not in the same league as the first film).

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NASA: Check out this TWIRLY SPACE DWARF – and NEVER moan about our budget

MacroRodent
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Hope the cruise continues

>The probe is scheduled to continue studying Ceres through the end of its primary mission in July.

It would be neat if they still had enough propellant after that for even more asteroid-prospecting. After all, the solar-powered ion engine has a great mileage.

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Likes of Google to have undue influence in Brussels, say activists

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

Writing legislation

The civil liberties lobbyists say this is tantamount to letting business lobbyists co-write legislation.

Actually, they are pretty much doing it already in the EU. But I agree that the treaty would make it even easier, and that is bad.

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

MacroRodent
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Re: There's gold out there

Many visual artists are just unable get the notion that in the online world, they cannot completely control what the viewer sees, even if they try their best (even if the display size and resolution happens to be exactly the same that the artist had, the colour rendering is off, unless you have a calibrated display!). That explains the obsession with Flash, which seems on the surface to do what they want. I know an artist, well-regarded in his field, whose web site is a huge Flash application that simulates a book, down to requiring navigation by "turning pages".

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MacroRodent
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Re: Legos going pop in the night

Yes, but unlike flash, Lego is the best thing in the world.

Sure! Except when you step on it. And especially if the brick is upside down. An event like this in my childhood caused me to learn just how thick the epidermis is under the foot. The brick sliced a neat sample of it.

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MacroRodent
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Legos going pop in the night

"It's the Lego brick in your foot when you're feeling your way through a dark kitchen at 3am."

Love the simile! The writer has kids, too, I guess.

Incidentally, I'm planning to upgrade the laptop whom I maintain for a totally computer-illiterate auntie type person, who needs it mostly for online banking. It certainly would be safest to leave Flash out of it this time, but I must first test who many of her favourite sites it would affect (resulting in a call to me about the computer being broken...).

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Bill Gates – I WISH I was like Zuck and spoke Chinese. Yep, I drink poo

MacroRodent
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Re: Don't Forget...

Don't forget that some commenters on this forum opined that Zuckerberg's mandarin was scarcely intelligible.

One of the hardest things in learning a foreign language in adulthood is getting the pronunciation right, if the phonetics of the new language differs a lot from your native language. I suspect Mandarin is an especially difficult case in this respect, because the right intonation is very important for meaning, unlike in English.

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MacroRodent
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Re: French - Anything but easy.

For someone whose native language is English, the easiest languages probably would be other Germanic languages, like German or Swedish.. From my point of view (as a Finnish speaker), these are almost dialects of each other...

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Humanity can defeat SkyNet with BOOKS, says IT think tank

MacroRodent
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Re: Reading books - wats dat ?

"of all fiction apart from Hemmingway-style realism"

Wasn't 451 the Bradbury story where all books were banned? (And burning them was the job of the firemen). He had another story where only non-realist fiction was burned... I think it was (google google) "Usher II" (part of the Martian Chronicles).

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MacroRodent
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Re: Yeah, right

About as effective as us defeating the Surveillance State by reading 1984 and the Animal Farm.

But reading those books are a good start towards that goal! Add also "The First Circle" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (which also includes a good demonstration of how not to manage a R&D project).

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MARS NEEDS BROADBAND, insists Elon Musk

MacroRodent
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Re: Wrong question altogether

A case of diminishing returns. It has been argued quite convincingly that getting some kind of eletronic messaging to everyone does "lift people out of powerty" by making the markets more efficient (see the article on sardine fishers in Kerala, a few weeks back on this august web site). But that can be achieved with GSM. It could be broadband just adds access to kitten videos...

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Are you running a Telnet server on Windows? Oh thank God. THANK GOD

MacroRodent
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Re: Please help a penguin

You're right, telnet has no place on modern systems unless you have a need to leak credentials.

Telnet is quite OK in a closed network where you have no need to secure communications. In this case its simplicity and low overhead is an asset. But naturally no telnet port should be open to the internet, not even to the company intranet.

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Windows 7 MARKED for DEATH by Microsoft as of NOW

MacroRodent
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Re: Year of Linux on the laptop

I use an old scanner with XP drivers with Windows 7. MS supplies a handy virtual XP machine free of charge...

Yes, if you have Windows 7 Professional or better. Home computers typically come bundled with Windows 7 Home, and I'm not going to pay any more Windows tax than absolutely necessary. MS also no longer patches XP and their page about "Install and use Windows XP Mode in Windows 7" now warns not to use XP mode for any PC connected to the internet.

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MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: Year of Linux on the laptop

>have not had a desktop in the house for 8 years and not had windows since xp

The only reason I have Windows at home is some equipment makers (in my case the really sore point is a film scanner) who neither release Linux drivers, nor provide enough information for the open source community to create them.

I have come to the conclusion this is really a case of planned obsolescence. Closed-source drivers eventually stop working on Windows, as Windows itself changes internally (good luck using an old device that only has a XP driver on Windows 7!). So the user finds it easiest to solve the problem by buying a new device, even if the old one is in perfect working order and fulfils his needs.

There ought to be a law against this...

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Hey, bacteria: Resistance is FUTILE – boffins grow new super-antibiotic

MacroRodent
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Re: Past, learn from, uh...duh...huh?

Just an idea. Maybe we'll want to ban the use of these antibiotics in animal feed???

Agreed! The practice should be made illegal world-wide. Protecting millions of human lives is far more important than making some cows grow a bit faster.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Past, learn from, uh...duh...huh?

I guess it's tough to regulate "common sense" when someone is sitting in the doctor's office with a bad cold and demanding to be given something for it... usually by the name of the drug.

This is not a case of lack of common sense, but a failure of education! While not everybody can be expected to be an expert in microbiology, teaching the difference between bacteria and viruses, and why antibiotics don't work on the latter should be taught in elementary school. (A couple of picture book pages with cute cartoon bacteria should do it...). It is vital to get this knowledge to the public.

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Cheap Android phones? Bah! How about a $29 mobe from Microsoft?

MacroRodent
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Re: No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

Secondly, in their desire to keep the name Microsoft "exclusive" (hah!) they've created a situation where even if this new cheapy phone is a success, there's no brand upgrade path. Microsoft must have a special strategy department dedicated to snatching defeat from the jaws of any potential victory.

Indeed, Microsoft is looking more and more like Nokia did in its last mobile phone years...

Here's a free idea for Microsoft: Reintroduce WP 7 for the low-end phone range. By today's standards, WP 7 is quite frugal with hardware, so it should work well on cheap phones, but yet allows a smooth upgrade path to phones with a newer WP.

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MacroRodent
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Re: They're called feature phones

They're great as "leashes" because you can always call them (or send a text) to ask "where are you and why aren't you home yet?"

On the other hand, they don't support "leash apps" like dondeEsta (which allows you to text a phone, and it automatically sends back its current location).

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NASA preps lobotomy for Opportunity rover to cure amnesia

MacroRodent
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Re: Necessary XKCD Reference

> fire up a local copy of the software and shutdown the one on Mars.

Ah, but would that really transmit the "being"? The original might not want to shut down. I recall once reading a science fiction story, where a alien race introduced a "teleporter" to humans. The problem is, it worked by transmitting all data about the subject to the destination, where it was reconstructed, then the original (which was not harmed by the process itself) was normally killed. The aliens saw this as a necessary clean-up operation, the humans ... objected.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Necessary XKCD Reference

Interesting question: if an human-like AI (able to pass the Turing test any day with flying colours) were developed, would it be ethical to send it (him? her?) on a space probe without a return ticket?

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