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* Posts by alannorthhants

138 posts • joined 23 Dec 2009

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Speed of light slower than we thought? Probably not

alannorthhants
Mushroom

A basic misunderstanding of supernovae

Franson has based his work on a conundrum raised by an old supernova explosion: that when supernova SN 1987A was observed in 1987, neutrinos were spotted 7.7 hours before the event became visible when photons arrived.

While we do not completely understand the physics underlying a supernova (the simulations show the shock wave stalling a few milliseconds after it rebounds from the collapsed core), scientists do pretty much agree that:

1. The neutrinos are generated during the initial core collapse;

2. The photons are generated when the shock wave reaches the surface of the star; and

3. The two preceding events are separated by several hours.

I guess Franson must have assumed that everything happens instantly. Just shows what an idiot he is.

22
4

Drone's drug airdrop mission ends in failure for Irish prisoners

alannorthhants

Re: Define "drone"

Another one for you:

RPAS - Remotely Piloted Aeronautical System

The trem UAV is mostly used for the big military systems (e.g. REAPER); smaller systems prefer the term RPAS since it has not had much bad press (yet).

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Zombie patents raid TI's wallet for $US3 million

alannorthhants

Re: No IBM?

Given what the Nazgul did to SCO (have a look at the Groklaw archives if you need really your memory refreshed) is it any wonder that they have decided to keep a long way away from Big Blue?

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IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

alannorthhants

Re: Wasted IP ranges

The companies paid a pretty penny for those IP addresses

The organisations paid nothing for them - they asked for them when IPv4 was still young and no-one had thought about the concept of address exhaustion. IANA asked the companies to return them several years ago in exchange for smaller blocks (e.g. /16 - still plenty for most people) but only one university complied with the request - all of the others either flatly refused or (in some cases) ignored the request and did not bother to reply.

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EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

alannorthhants

Re: I don't get it

Different issue - you are thinking of the "right to be forgotten", the article is referring to broader EU data protection and privacy legislation.

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US escalates Stingray mobe-snooping secrecy battle as judge unseals evidence

alannorthhants

Re: "US Marshals raiding Florida police"

Given that the documents were apparently a part of a current court case and that the judge was just in the process of unsealing them, I'd have thought that the actions of the US Marshals might be considered by the judge as a clear case of Contempt of Court.

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How I poured a client's emails straight into the spam bin – with one Friday evening change

alannorthhants

Every sysadmin must make one really big screw-up in their career

Mine was the command "rm -rf / tmp/*" (note the significant space). The subsequent panic-stricken CONTROl-C was not quite fast enough.

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Interstellar FIGHT CLUB: Watch neutron star TEAR Goliath a new hole

alannorthhants

Does anyone know what the music is ....

... I think I might try to get a recoding. Lovely stuff.

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alannorthhants

Re: Just wondering...

The gamma ray burst propogates along the spin axis of the brand new bouncing bady black hole; the accretion disk is in orbit around its equator.

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Silicon Valley bod in no-hire pact lawsuit urges court to REJECT his OWN lawyers' settlement

alannorthhants
Mushroom

"Presumably the plaintiffs lawyers get a percentage of the settlement..."

Yeah, about 95% I think

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Sat comms kit riddled with backdoors for hackers – researcher

alannorthhants
Thumb Down

Not a good example of a security document

Having read this I can say that this is less than a shining example of how to publish this type of research. It is long on claims (which anyone can make) but pretty short on proof, and as has been pointed it it contains some pretty significant errors regarding Thuraya - the sort of errors that anyone with any real knowledge of the industry would simply never make. Saying that however, some of the allegations are pretty believable; having worked on early development models of the Cobham (ex Thrane & Thrane) BGAN terminals when testing the system as a whole, I actually knew the hidden passwords that are hardcoded in the systems, although they are not that easy to guess. The fact that other manufacturers have also used hardcoded passwords is no real surprise since they typically use these for development and maintenance purposes.

I do wonder whether this is such an important issue as the author makes out, or whether he is just trying to make a name for himself. The fact is this is the sort of equipment that you do not find in everyday use; the vast majority of people will live their lives without ever seeing a satellite terminal. Many of the terminals models cited in the report are either not directly connected to the Internet as a whole, or only connected at random intervals. In both cases they would be very difficult targets for hackers to attack, and even if attacked and compromised it would be difficult for someone to do more than just disrupt the satellite link (easy to reset if necessary). You certainly could not insert malware into these devices simply because they do not use "standard" PC-type hardware platforms.

IMHO, a storm in a teacup.

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European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

alannorthhants

Re: Good!

But European law allows individual countries to say what constitutes "personal use". Customs & Excise simply put a threshold figure on what you can import based on what a person is reasonably likely to smoke in a year; try to import significantly more than that and they (reasonably) get suspicious that you are planning to sell them. They are flexible however; prove that you are a heavy smoker and then adjust the threshold accordingly.

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alannorthhants
Pint

Re: Good!

Well the court clearly said that the directive violates Euro Human Rights law, so anything put in place under the directive would also be presumed to be a violation of that law unless the Euro courts say otherwise (not likely in my opinion.

Of course someone is still going to have to take UK Gov to court to force them to obey.

Glass raising as well.

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Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

alannorthhants

Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

I lived there for about 8 years - it's not as bad as they say, it's worse! Getting married and moving away was probably the best thing I ever did, even if it did cost me £30K from the drop in house/flat prices in the area,

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Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

alannorthhants

An odd case to bring against Facebook

I have to admit to feeing pretty bemused about this whole case. Facebook has <u>always</u> stated that they are allowed to use any information, photos, or whatever you put on Facebook in whichever way that Facebook wants. Basically they can sell everything about you to whoever they want, whenever they want; if they want to use your picture in an ad then they can do so. On the face of it then the judges ruling (parking to one side issues relating to minors) is completely correct.

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Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

alannorthhants

Re: Truly astonishing amount of information stored

I know the people who did this work, and also know a lot about the Inmarsat systems. Basically when Inmarsat receives a message over their satellites, the radio management system forwards it with an additional header that includes (among other things) the frequency that the message was received at. Inmarsat know the nominal frequency that is used for the messages, so they are able to work out the Doppler shift. The final step is to construct a flight-path model that reproduces the observed Doppler shift - this took a lot of number crunching but was relatively straight-forward.

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Bitcoin bust litigants fling sueballs at Japanese bank

alannorthhants

Re: Justified?

This is going to turn out very bad for many other Bitcoin businesses, as potential banks will now look more than twice if they should accept a Bitcoin business as their client, as "these people" seem to be quite sue-happy.

The person launching the sueball is an American - they always seem to prefer to sue first and spit on your corpse later.

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That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

alannorthhants
Headmaster

Re: Denial or something more bizarre

"The NSA is doing a poor job at denial given the tenses used and numbers."

Probably because the NSA is trying to make sure that it's denial is plausibly deniable. Remember President Clinton arguing that the meaning of a sentence depending on the meaning of the word "the"?

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It's 2014 and Microsoft Windows PCs can still be owned by a JPEG

alannorthhants

Re: Microshaft whould just give up

Small point but important: Apple used a BSD Unix kernel. Linux was banned because Apple's lawyers could not find any way around the GPL.

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X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

alannorthhants

Re: Don't see how this helps any

But a star that close to the Sun, even if it is class Y brown dwarf it would have showed up like a bright beacon to the IRAS and/or ISO missions, let alone any of the terrestrial IR-sensitive telescopes. Also the theoretical orbital parameters for Nemesis (consistent with the extinction pattern) has been worked out a long time ago, and we know in what part of the sky we should be looking, but nothing is there!

BTW, the extinction pattern data is based on a very small sample set that is statistically not significant. Basically the uncertainties outweigh the conclusions.

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Google facing $5 BEEELLION antitrust fine in India

alannorthhants

Breaking Google Up!

"The CCI also has the power to order a company found to be too dominant to be broken down into smaller businesses."

If this means that the CCI could order Google's world-wide operations to be broken up, then I foresee some interesting times ahead (i.e. when the US gov launches some serious trade sanctions against India on behalf of Google).

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US judge Koh won't ban old Samsung gear, tells Apple: Your patents aren't that amazing

alannorthhants

Re: "Your patents aren't that amazing"

But to the US Patent Office, concepts such as round corners are obviously so innovative that whoever invented them should be allowed to exploit the idea until the end of the world.

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Winklevoss twins say their Bitcoins will take them to SPAAAAACE

alannorthhants
Pint

Re: Bye, chaps

A one-way ticket would be better.

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Dropbox erects sueball shield with new T&C and privacy legalese

alannorthhants

Re: question

"Either make your service such that is is unavailable in the EU or to any EU citizens, or comply with our rules about jurisdictions: if you make the data available in the UK and I want to sue you in the UK, I can. Doesn't matter what your T&Cs say, especially if they are manifestly unfair (or US centric)."

I think it goes even further than that. According to UK contract law (the EU has nothing to do with it in this case) a contract that contains unfair T&Cs cannot be enforced. Saying that you can only bring legal action in the US courts (which are prohibitively expensive even for 'Merkins) can only be deemed to be unfair, so cannot be enforced.

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Bosses to be banned from forcing new hires to pull personal records

alannorthhants

Re: I'd pass that test

Sorry but on one part of your statement you are very wrong.

My company is just getting List-X status which means we can hold classified documents on site. Anyone who has access to the secure area has to have security clearance, however everyone else who works for the company must have at least a Basic Disclosure that proves who they are. No basic Disclosure, no job! We have not made up those rule, HMG has imposed them on us.

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Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

alannorthhants

I certainly don't qualify as an idiot - I don't have a Facebook account (and have never had one, so Facebook have absolutely nothing on me) and have disabled the Facebook app on my phone so that we don't have any "accidental" data slurps.

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Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

alannorthhants
Mushroom

France

EU ....

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Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

alannorthhants

Re: If they were serious about punishment

Even better - Windows ME

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Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

alannorthhants

Re: Synchronicity

Many years ago (some many I can't remember when) I went to a lecture given by Ken Thompson (Unix & Plan 9 guru) about the (then fairly new) Plan 9 OS. He interspersed the lecture with clips from Plan 9 from Outer Space much to everyone's amusement. One of the things he mentioned was that they adopted the Plan 9 name because management could take the project seriously (it got funded simply because people like Ken & Denis Ritchie through their weight behind it).

Saying that it was a seriously good lecture - Ken could really keep the audience entertained while discussing a pretty complicated topic.

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US Appeal Court slaps Apple for trying to shake antitrust monitor

alannorthhants

Re: And the merry go round...

More like Prenda Law.

I suspect that Apple will start to complain to the court about every request, claiming that none of them are necessary for the antitrust monitor to do his job. Eventually the courts will get fed up with all of this nonsense, and will punish Apple by saying that they have to comply with all of his requests, regardless of what they think. Apple will appeal, the Appeal Court will turn them down (probably with an additional bitch-slap just to make the point to Apple's legal department) and at that point the antitrust monitor will probably start finding some really interesting things.

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Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: Whereas our weather...

... its the only way to be sure

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Multi-platform Java bot marshals ZOMBIE FORCE against spammers

alannorthhants

Linux should still be pretty secure

The blog entry mentioned in the article mentions how the bot arranges to have itself executed at start-up. Windows is pretty conventional (registry hacks), I can't comment on Apple, but on Linux it attempts to add stuff into the bootscripts in /etc/init.d. Made me laugh that - any sysadmin worth their command prompt will have ensured that /etc/init.d cannot be added to by normal users (pretty standard security measure), and unless they are complete idiots they won't put themselves in a position of receiving the bot when they are logged in as root (they should log in as a normal user first of all, then elevate themselves to root privileges via "su".

Saying that, hats of to the guys who took this thing apart and worked out how it works - they really had to sweat that one.

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Facebook bots grope our 'privates', and every wronged user should get $10,000 – lawsuit claims

alannorthhants
Thumb Down

Personally I have never trusted Facebook, which is why I have never, and will never, have an account with them.

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'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

alannorthhants

Re: If they allow copyright on APIs ...

The US judges find it very difficult to understand that anywhere outside of the US actually exists, so they are hardly likely to pay any attention to a non-US court.

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That toolbar you downloaded is malware? Tough, read the EULA

alannorthhants

Re: Meh… EULAs

Under UK contract law there is a clear statement that an "unfair" contract, even if it has been voluntarily agreed to by all of the parties, cannot be enforced. The gotcha here is that what constitutes "unfair" has to be left to a judges discretion; he might agree that these terms are unfair (on the basis you are having your processor, and hence electricity, used for a purpose that you cannot gain any material or immaterial benefit from), but there again he might decide otherwise.

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How do spooks build surveillance rigs? In Oz they TENDER for it

alannorthhants

Re: "The appliance"? WTF is AFP babbling about? It's not an espresso maker ...

<sigh>Standard terminology for this sort of tender</sigh>

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You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

alannorthhants

A weakness in the forensic tools

One thought occurred to me reading this article, all of these forensic tools no doubt assume that the file system is a FAT or NTFS variant. I wonder what would happen if they tried them on (for example) a Linux system used ext2/3/4, XFS, JFS or even ReiserFS. I can just about see the plods assuming that the disk is encrypted, demanding the keys and then getting upset when you say that the disk is not encrypted, and you have no legal obligation to tell them what file system(s) you are using.

Lets make it even better - have a 4-disk system running a mixture of the above layered on LVM2 which is in turn layered on a RAID-6 array. Guaranteed to screw the system.

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Wanna sell a phone in New York? Better have a receipt

alannorthhants

Re: Is it really that hard to ID a phone?

IMEI blacklisting systems are already a part of the 3G standards and gave been for a long while (back to the GSM days). The problem is no operators (AFAIK) have implemented the systems since they are expensive to run due to the cross-operator links that they require (or of the blacklists have to be synchronised, otherwise a stolen mobile could still slip on to the network). Centralised blacklisting systems do not exist; they are not a part of the 3G standards.

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Assange: 'Ecuadorian embassy staff are like my family'

alannorthhants

Re: can someone please shine a light on this for me

You can only add someone to a diplomatic mission with the permission of the country hosting the mission. So if Ecuador did try that (not that I think that they would be so stupid), the moment Assange stepped out the door the plods would be able to nick him since the Vienna convention would not apply.

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Facebook RIPS away your veil of privacy, declares NO MORE HIDING

alannorthhants

If anyone does not like Facebook's increasing intrusion into your private lives then do what I do - don't touch Facebook with a bargepole.

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So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

alannorthhants

Re: Linux backdoor?

In theory this is possible, in practice it would be hard to do and harder still not to be disrupted tomorrow by the latest patch set.

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Korean stealth-scraper plans will turn 450 metre tower INVISIBLE

alannorthhants

Can I just point out that aircraft fly between skyscrapers on their approach to Hong Kong airport (residents actually look down on the planes as they pass). Not many accidents that I recall in that part of the world.

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Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

alannorthhants

Re: Just who does that headmaster think he is?

"I'm surprised he didn't get done for wasting police time."

The police probably fell over laughing at him once he walked out of the cop shop.

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Microsoft's Nokia plan: WHACK APPLE AND GOOGLE

alannorthhants

"A major theme of the presentation is that owning Nokia makes Microsoft more relevant on more platforms"

Not for long.

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WTF is … Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks?

alannorthhants

You mean they haven't already?

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UK gov dials 999 over Serco prison escort fraud claims

alannorthhants

Re: Why are they being given chances?

OK, we heard you out, now you are crazy

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Why Teflon Ballmer had to go: He couldn't shift crud from Windows 8, Surface

alannorthhants

Oops, for "we" read "he"

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alannorthhants
FAIL

"For Gates & Co, the reorganisation would also have seemed the right juncture to remove Ballmer in order to avert a second lost decade and protect their company from a supremo seemingly unable to change his ways

Of course Blamer never changed his way, we was never wrong. It was the rest of the world that failed to see his absolute brilliance and kept on making serious mistakes.

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Screw you, Brits, says Google: We are ABOVE UK privacy law

alannorthhants

Re: Nuts

Actually no can refuse to accept a summons. Does not invalidate it however, and provided that there is proof that you refused to accept it then the courts are free to draw their own conclusions.

A major tactical and strategic mistake by Google's legal eagles.

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alannorthhants

Re: Nuts

Basically they refused to accept the paperwork when someone tried to give it to them. Of course this, and their public statements, is likely to go down really well with the UK courts!

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