* Posts by Malcolm Weir

395 posts • joined 23 May 2007

Page:

Donald Trump confirms TPP to be dumped, visa program probed

Malcolm Weir

Optional

Don't worry: Exxon Mobile will be too busy, as The Cheetos President will have eliminated regulations that "impede businesses". Perhaps he'll make it possible for Haliburton to conduct Environmental Impact Studies (i.e. buy a stamp with "None, go right ahead" written on it).

More regulations to be eliminated are, no doubt, all those pesky pharmaceutical regs, which will have the added benefit of reducing drug development costs. Naturally, there may be a few unfortunate side effects (like vast numbers of awkward side effects)...

10
0

UK Home Secretary signs off on Lauri Love's extradition to US

Malcolm Weir

For me the key problem is that "the crime" (the acts for which he faces trial) occurred in the UK. The victims were in the USA, but the acts occurred in Britain. So (for me) that suggests a British court should be the appropriate venue...

I appreciate that a lot of this stuff gets complicated, because e.g. mugging a tourist to the UK is different from e.g. defrauding someone over the phone long distance.

But consider: if I publish something defamatory on a US website accessible in the UK, then I can be sued in English courts, and if I lose... the US has laws protecting me from collection efforts, because they insist that only libel verdicts issued in a US court are binding (so as to protect rights under the First Amendment, etc). So that seems to support the theory that acts performed in Country A that harm someone in Country B should be tried in Country A, *because* it may be that the act might not be unlawful in Country A because of a legal technicality or a binding precedent or any other reason (even if the act is, broadly speaking, unlawful in both jurisdictions). This fits, incidentally, with the "jury of your peers" thing, too.

12
0

Judge nailed for trying to bribe Fed with fizzy water (aka Bud Light)

Malcolm Weir

Optional

@Phil W, while there may be some who think that her use of a private server was "stupid", there are also many who know that the idea that the government run server might have been "more secure" is naive (hi, OPM... nice of you to let all my personal information -- and that of my wife -- leak to the Chinese), and who know that trying to persuade a government IT department to do something complicated (like setup an email account) may have required enough paperwork to deforest Oregon and enough elapsed time to allow that forest to regrow.

There is a reason why senior elected officials, up to and *including* President G. W. Bush (the notional owner of "GWB42.com") end up on non-governmental systems!

14
0

VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

Malcolm Weir

Re: Disgusted

Oh, dear, Woger, you're speaking from massive ignorance. The UK (and European) standards are _different_ from the US ones, more rigid in some respects and more lenient in others. So nothing that happened with regards to the US VW 'incident' has any bearing on your little taxi rank data point. That said, as always the current status quo is a function of past history, so that when the UK decided to promote fuel economy and low CO2 emissions that resulted in many more diesel vehicles. The US doesn't care about fuel economy and huge parts of the country doesn't believe in CO2 so they have many more ridiculously inefficient petrol engines. Additionally, while EU considers "ultra-low sulphur" diesel to be 10ppm, but in the US it's 15ppm for new engines. And so on.

Meanwhile, the biggest impact on your life caused by motor vehicles is the chance of being involved in a road traffic accident, which are at least twice as frequent in the US as in the UK, in large part due to the increased number of vehicles in use (i.e. the paucity of public transit).

18
1

IBM lifts lid, unleashes Linux-based x86 killer on unsuspecting world

Malcolm Weir

Re: A friend of mine...

It's not an ACR 225 is it, by any chance?

1
0

Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party

Malcolm Weir

Re: this isn't going to be popular, but

@James O'Shea.... what makes this thread interesting/newsworthy is not the question of whether Apple grants El Reg access, but that Apple / Ted Miller / Alan Hely *lies*, blatantly, about not granting them access.

The honest/smart/decent thing for Alan Hely to have done is simply to have said something like:

"Sorry, your publication is listed as not being acceptable for 'in person' invitations to Apple corporate events. I'll let you know if that changes. Meanwhile, you can always watch the live streams. Have a nice day."

Done.

13
0

UK IT consultant subject to insane sex ban order mounts legal challenge

Malcolm Weir

Re: ECHR

The "Votes for Prisoners" thing is a clear case of tabloid distortion. What the EHCR actually decided was that the UK cannot impose a blanket ban on voting "because they are prisoners". Any restrictions on suffrage need to be based on specific acts of the individuals whose rights are being restricted, not just where they happen to be located. Otherwise it's a slipper slope towards saying things like "people living in state-owned accommodation don't get to vote" or "members of the armed forces get to vote twice" or something like that.

There is no problem with having a law saying "murders don't get to vote", only "prisoners don't get to vote".

0
0
Malcolm Weir

He'll find out on Sep 22. The judge clearly didn't like the terms of the old SRO, but also clearly didn't feel very sympathetic to the victim. So the delay may be legal speak for "I'm going to go do some research and find out what I can do, because I don't want to toss the old SRO in its entirety but on its face it should be tossed"!

0
0

George W Bush hacker Guccifer to spend 52 months in the big house

Malcolm Weir

Perhaps, but he also deserves 4 years in prison for releasing unredacted data from the hack.

So: Bush Junior's "artwork" is fine, but random cell phone numbers of people who have never held office but happen to be related to a Bush is another matter.

2
0

Penetration tech: BAE Systems' new ammo for Our Boys and Girls

Malcolm Weir

Optional

Err.. Abaco is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama (it's the old GE Intelligent Platforms group). And CW owns Penny+Giles in Christchuch, Dorset as well as other UK offices. So both Abaco & CW are US companies. For the real UK equivalent, look no further than BAE Systems!

4
0

California to put all your power-hungry PCs on a low carb(on) diet

Malcolm Weir

Mandating 80Plus PSUs gets you most of the way there without impacting the functionality of the system one bit. Going from plane "80Plus" to "80Plus Gold" gets you between 7% and 10%. Figure a high-end uses an average of 500W, so that will save 50W, or more than 1KWh per day.

And actually, in California, it's likely to be more, because that excess 50W came from heat created by the PSU, so chances are that there's an HVAC that would no longer have to deal with it...

3
1

My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

Malcolm Weir

In the para about MC Escher, I think "whole" should be "hole".

5
0

McCain: Come to my encryption hearing. Tim Cook: No, I'm good. McCain: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you

Malcolm Weir

Re: Clinton who should be in jail.

GWB42.com.... a private email server that members of the government used to communicate about government business, and from which records were "lost".

12
1

You can buy Windows 10 Enterprise E3 access for the price of a coffee

Malcolm Weir

Re: And so it begins

I think it's common in smaller businesses that horrible mismatches of OS versions proliferate. For example, because the previous individuals allegedly "in charge of" such things were incompetent and/or naive and/or dumb, I have a user population using an unholy mix of XP (yes), Win7 Home Premium (Huh?), Win 7 Pro, Win 7 Ultimate, Win 10 Home and Win 10 Pro. Plus various Linuxes, but they don't count for this point.

Now, if I can lease Win 10 Pro for (say) my Win 7 Home and Win 10 Home users I can concentrate on replacing the oldest machines (the XP ones), getting a standard Win 10 Pro license as part of the deal, while postponing the need to pay $200 for a Win 10 Pro license for the others. In a year or so, I'll replace the machines that I had leased the OS for, and I'll be happy without large spikes in my CapEx budget.

Sure, my chaos may not be common, but for me, this is an interesting option!

3
3

Samsung deals out microSD-crushing faster fingernail flash cards

Malcolm Weir

*Really* nothing to see here...

So the 200GB Lexar "633x" microSDXC exists today, works with all SDXC hosts (possibly with an adapter to handle the SDXC->microSDXC thing) and offers the same read speeds (although possibly slower write speeds, but that's down to marketroid blurb).

Yawn!

0
0

Much more Moore's Law: Wonder-stuff graphene transistor trickery

Malcolm Weir

Re: Except...

So... you're a recent arrival, then: the earliest PCs had 8088's and 10MB HDDs!

3
0

Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

Malcolm Weir

OK, Stupid...

No. No, it's not trivial. Consider how you'd handle:

printf("*/ or \"/*");

To do it right, you need a lexical analyzer. Of course it can be done, but doing it with bash would be a nightmare.

0
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Well there is a point to this

I think string makes the key point, here: almost by definition, things like driver code can't be self-documenting, because it's dealing with an external blob of hardware that will do weird things that are (hopefully) described in some massive ICD. So while we're all well aware that code with side effects is normally frowned upon, the whole point of driver code is that it has side effects.

1
0

As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

Malcolm Weir

Re: I thought I recognized "Sensus"... We have met the enemy and he is (Sens)us

Are you suggesting that a smart meters include a circuit interrupter (breaker, switch) capable of switching 100 amps or so?

1
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Still puzzling

Wouldn't it be funny if the UK version of The Streisand Effect became known as The Elton John Effect, for no particular reason (wrote the guy in California).

6
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Bah!

Dude, which part of PUBLIC RECORDS ACT are you confused about?

He hasn't asked for the secret stuff, he's asked for the PUBLIC RECORDS. Which are, you know, PUBLIC.

This is no science project, it's simply a taxpayer / ratepayer asking a publicly owned entity (Seattle City Light) to provide the RECORDS that it has, in accordance with the law.

36
0
Malcolm Weir

Worth remembering that this is "just" a TRO, as in temporary; to get this, all L+G really had to do was convince the court that they would suffer harm *if* what they allege was true, not that what they allege is in fact true, or indeed even if it is true, whether other factors (like the contract they themselves signed) leave them harmed!

The next stage will be the hearing about whether the guts of the TRO should be preserved as a Preliminary Injunction. What will be most interesting will be the City's position: do they side with L+G, or do they lean on L+G / Sensus to comply with the requirements of the Washington State Public Records Act, because the "slippery slope" of permitting contractors to claim exemptions (for whatever reason) imposes a much higher burden on the City than pushing the contractors to behave themselves.

3
0

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Malcolm Weir

Worth remembering that the warheads themselves are getting on a bit, too: I understand the average age of a US nuke warhead is itself more than 25 years... so managing something made in the 1980s with a system build in the 1970s doesn't sound so bad.

6
0

Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

Malcolm Weir

Re: GEt a bigger "Gun"?

Unfortunately, Washington's anti-SLAPP law was _too_ good, and was struck down as unconstitutional last year. As far as I can tell, they haven't enacted a "fixed" version, so the state of play as of today is that Washington has no anti-SLAPP law. This is probably a fact well known to Landis + Gyr and the other contractors...

1
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Optional

Excellent! I'm sure you've seen Section 38 of the contract between Landis + Gyr and the city, signed by a senior VP of L+G named William Weidenbach, which explicitly discusses Washington State's Public Records Act, and explains how the city isn't going to protect L+G's information for them...

1
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Security?

That is, in essence, what the point of the records request was: so that an independent eye could review the system.

3
0
Malcolm Weir

Optional

It's much worse than the article suggests:

The suit is directed at Mocek asks for damages because he posted material *that was released by the city*, which they allege contain trade secrets of the contractors. The notion is that the city released documents before they could be vetted by the contractors... and therefore the contractors will suffer harm (potentially, fair enough). But the complaint should, surely, be addressed to the city (who released the docs) not Mocek, who received them?

So (and this is based solely on the contractors lawsuit): the Mocek asked the city for documents; the city asked the contractors for redacted versions; the city provided Mocek those documents and (allegedly) accidentally some unredacted related docs; Mocek posted them; the contractors sued Mocek demanding that he not post any of the documents the city had given him; and would like a restraining order preventing the city from releasing the unredacted docs. Oh, and the contractors would like damages from Mocek for, apparently, posting the documents they prepared in response to his freedom of information request.

The contractors make great play, as the article notes, the risk if CyberBadGuys get the information... but again, that's addressed to the wrong people: it's not Mocek's responsibility to maintain the cybersecurity of the city's power system, that's the responsibility of the city. So if this was a rational (rather than SLAPP) lawsuit, surely it should be the city suing Mocek...

Finally, the contractors want to a complete list of everyone who has accessed the docs, which can be found at https://www.muckrock.com/foi/seattle-69/smart-meter-security-audit-plans-schedules-proposals-contracts-discussion-results-seattle-10378/, which is well worth a visit!

12
0

Drive for Lyft or Uber in SF? Your wallet is about to get lighter

Malcolm Weir

Re: @Gray

@jake,

Don't speak nonsense: fees represent approximately 0.000001% of the reason why SF rents are higher than somewhere rather more than an hour away from the city. The real reason is supply and demand, in nice capitalist thinking. If your thesis were even remotely true, then you could explain why sales tax is lower in San Francisco than in San Mateo and Alameda counties (over 1% lower than the latter, as it happens). And while you need a permit in SF for a door opener, you also need one in the adjacent Daly City, so there goes that particular "fees lead to high rent" argument!

1
0

Seagate intros Innov8: A USB-powered 8TB external hard drive

Malcolm Weir

Is it really a battery...?

If it is just to handle motor start (which is the obvious high-power phase of a drive) then why use a chemical battery, as opposed to, say, a supercapacitor.

Then you need a "health" feedback signal from the supercap to the drive controller so that the drive knows not to schedule too many head seeks in a row (i.e. if the supercap voltage is less than X, delay seek until it's greater than Y).

[ Surely it's not just me who has used one of those cables with two type A connectors to start a portable drive, then unplug the "power only" connector to put the mouse back in? ]

6
0

Monster motor breathes fire in Mississippi

Malcolm Weir

Re: Hmm. How about Saturn V

Your basic space shuttle could throw about 24,000lbs into low earth orbit.

A "Coming soon" Space-X Falcon 9 is good for a little more than twice that, say 51,000lbs.

The first SLS systems should put about 70,000lbs up there.

The evolved SLS almost doubles that, to 130,000lbs (if it happens).

Saturn V: 140,000lbs.

[ To be fair, Saturn V was the product of the race to the moon, and the smarter way to accomplish what Apollo did these days would be to assemble the Lunar and Command/Service modules in orbit, possibly even with a reentry module, so you don't need the same amount of lift. ]

0
0

Dead Steve Jobs is still a crook – and Apple must cough up $450m for over-pricing ebooks

Malcolm Weir

Re: hubris

@Steve Davies 3: Depends whether you mean "now" or "then". One of the "now" factors is that Amazon has agreed to let some or many of the large publishers set the price; previously, Amazon did. This came about when Hachette took the lead-dog role in refusing to deal with Amazon.

The publisher's argument is the old record company argument: we Do Stuff so we need to take a large cut, and the punters will pay.

While there are many reasons to be suspicious of Amazon, if you're complaining about ebook pricing, look first to the publishers, because they are the ones that have spent years manipulating the market (e.g. by territorial boundaries, often accompanied with the questionable "for copyright reasons this edition is not for sale in the US & Canada" statement)!

9
0

Apple: FBI request threatens kids, electricity grid, liberty

Malcolm Weir

Please try to keep up, Simon. The World+Dog has now realized that, while the specific order in the San Bernadino case applies to one device, the myriad of orders that will follow (using whatever language is accepted) if that order is approved will apply to large numbers of devices.

Therefore, as you'd know if you'd been paying attention, the "just one iPhone" argument has been discredited by the people who made it (when they noted that they had "about 12" more they'd like hacked) and that's not counting the state and local law enforcement types who have their own piles of phones that they'd love to unlock.

So it's clear that, if granted, that this would start a cottage industry in unlocking phones, which in turn means that the chances of the code escaping or it being misused are non-trivial (a point Apple has made).

36
3

Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

Malcolm Weir

P.s. it would be convenient for me if a cop car parked on the street in front of my house all day and all night. Surely if Apple's efforts are "reasonable", then having that cop outside 24/7 is just as reasonable, and indeed nothing more than their job.

2
2
Malcolm Weir

The author's rather feeble effort to trivialize the First Amendment issues disgusted me... until it dawned on me that the Kieren McCarthy probably wrote that piece under duress from the US Department of Justice.

OK, so maybe not... but if Apple can be compelled to spend 10 man months or more using highly skilled individuals to create software (which, Kieren, is speech, as a matter of law, regardless of what you think), why can't some hack be compelled to spend 10 minutes or so banging out that article, and then attaching the by-line?

The cops are full of BS. Their argument is no different from arguing that cars should be limited to the speed of a galloping horse, so the cops can catch them. And it ignores the reality that unbreakable encoding has existed since the beginning of time: what does "Tora! Tora! Tora!" mean, anyway? (coding != ciphering, of course).

Yes, we understand it's convenient for cops to be able to mine all sorts of things for evidence, and we understand they've been able to achieve great things with the fruits of those mining expeditions, but fundamentally the cops (and Kieren) are arguing that everyone should be implanted with a GPS tracker / camera / recorder, because it would be jolly useful to have that evidence.

9
4

How the FBI will lose its iPhone fight, thanks to 'West Coast Law'

Malcolm Weir

Re: Hyperbole

Had you perhaps missing the fact that iPhones are made in China? Sure, Apple could move the production... eventually.

12
1
Malcolm Weir

Re: Ah, but that would involve *logic*

No, it's apparently a cyber unicorn, which could cause untold harm because everyone knows that unicorns pose a threat to the national security (because of the horn, obvs; that would never get past the TSA, so must be a terror weapon).

Or something.

11
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Brain Encryption

@David Kelly 2: the First Amendment implication is trivially obvious: I have the right to speak *in whatever form I want*. I can speak in Navajo, should I choose. Or in an apparent stream of random noise.

Sure, nothing in the First Amendment protects my speech from the government trying to overhear it (that is the purview of the Fourth Amendment, which you forgot, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated").

But the government MAY NOT compel me to either speak in a way that is easy for them to listen to OR (as actually is relevant here) compel someone else to create tools to help them.

25
0

IBM slices heavy axe through staff in the US

Malcolm Weir

Just a footnote about H-1B workers: it may be that a reason that contributes to why an individual with an H-1B doesn't get the chop is that, by definition, they have a limited shelf life: when the visa expires, they're gone. So bean counters may have included H-1B workers in the calculations, but left them off the mass firing because they'll be gone in a few anyway, and doing it this way avoids paying severance / having them on staff for 90 days.

9
0

US DoJ files motion to compel Apple to obey FBI iPhone crack order

Malcolm Weir

Re: Contempt of Court

No, Apple's non-compliance will (obviously) take the form of appeals from the (tiny, insignificant, junior, rubber-stamping) "Magistrate Judge" to other judges, likely ending up with an appeal to SCOTUS, who may or may not grant cert.

If they lose at that point, then they'll almost certainly comply. But with such loud complaints and public announcements of "future" features to prevent this that they'll come out OK, and the government will lose.

I find interesting that the DOJ's efforts spend a lot of time on the ownership of the phone, as if anyone cared once the search warrant was issued. Since this is s settled point (i.e. they have the phone and the warrant) the fact that the DOJ harps on about seems to me to suggest that they may be aware of the slipperiness of their footing.

3
1

Solution to tech bros' disgust of SF homeless people launched

Malcolm Weir

I think that's true, but largely only by comparison with other got-rich-quick types (like Wall Street wizards).

However, while I am deeply distrustful of Facebook, I was genuinely touched to see that San Francisco General Hospital, which is where the indigent and everyone in the city goes who can't afford health care (and whose AIDS wards were the final stop for so many in the 1990's)... is now called the "Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital".

Yeah, that beats a new concert hall, or wing at a museum any day.

Respect, Zuck!

4
1

Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

Malcolm Weir

Optional

I am frankly flabbergasted that there is anyone on the fence here.

What the FBI has demanded is disgusting and evil.

Of course it is right that Apple should be prepared to help, and indeed they have been. The vile and evil conduct is in the demand that Apple must help.

Think about it: this is, on it's face, an order compelling a corporation to work for the government, even though the corporation doesn't wish to do so. If the government prevails, why would they not return at some stage requiring Apple to install, say, eavesdropping software on every phone and prohibiting them from disclosing that fact? They can wrap that up with "safeguards" like a requirement for a subsequent order to activate the software, which I'm sure the FISA court would be happy to provide...

9
6

Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

Malcolm Weir

Re: "Level of extremism"?

Well, quite. In 2006, Benjamin Netanyahu attended a commemoration of a clear act of terrorism... the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 and the death of 91 people and one terrorist. Yesterday he claimed there could be no justification for terror. This illustrates both the hypocrisy of politicians (bombing hotels is OK if you're fighting for The Right Cause(tm), but not otherwise), but also the fungible nature of "terrorism" vs "freedom" or "independence" fighters.

8
0

Watch: SpaceX Dragon capsule breathes fire during crucial hover test

Malcolm Weir

Of course SuperDraco motors are restartable... wikipedia can be your friend!

10
0

Fears of fiber cable cuts, rogue drones menacing crowds at Super Bowl 50

Malcolm Weir

Notice how the FBI and Homeland Security are concerned about... UNAUTHORIZED VIDEO COVERAGE!!!

Yep, the idea that some punter may get to see something except through the anointed TV channel is as big a threat to US security as bombs-n-shit. I mean, the ads on the blessed TV outlet cost MILLIONS, and for someone who paid that much money to not get their money's would be a crisis!

14
1

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

Malcolm Weir

I have to wonder, given your obvious loathing of MS, why you don't insist all your customers/users simply disable the "install updates automatically" option and instead pick one of the two other options?

Mind you, I think every system I use (Linux, Mac, Windows, Andoid, etc) has some kind of "update available" mechanism, so I wonder what you're using...

0
37
Malcolm Weir

So, err, you're saying that all your users are being encouraged to, err, upgrade.

Just not to a Microsoft product.

So I think the comment ("everyone... will upgrade eventually") is entirely accurate, no?

Mind you, if you think Microsoft is an abusive relationship, what the hell is Apple? The only truly honest assessment I've seen notes that the principle difference between Microsoft and Apple is that Apple is *better* at the process of abusing you. You're still abused.

10
12

Suck it, Elon – Jeff Bezos' New Shepard space rocket blasts off, lands in one piece

Malcolm Weir

Re: Its the wrong way to get off this planet

c.f. the Pascal-B test in the Operation Plumbbob test series. And the Project Orion.

The latter was theoretically safe (assuming you were on the vehicle; for those on the ground, the pollution would have been several times worse than even a Volkswagen diesel!)

12
0
Malcolm Weir

Re: Fail!!

And you know the vehicle's operational envelope how, exactly?

It doesn't matter if the thing was spinning like a catherine wheel, as long as it can correct for the actual motion vectors and convert them into the result you saw (and don't give a fuck about, which suggests you don't understand what you saw!)

Of course, it's possible that the landing was on the hairy edge of the thing's ability to correct for, and just lucked out. But unless you know what those limits are, your comment is specious.

21
0

Let's talk about that NSA Diffie-Hellman crack

Malcolm Weir

Re: The good news is...

... but the bad news is that they can't use the decrypts in criminal prosecutions because they don't want you to know they can decrypt criminal conversations...

6
0

PHONE me if you feel DIRTY: Yanks and 'Nadians wave bye-bye to magstripe

Malcolm Weir

Mr D... you are sadly mistaken if you think us N'Americans have adopted chip-and-pin. The whole "remembering the pin" thing is apparently too complex for the average user, so all those chip-enabled cards actually implement "chip and signature", presumably so that thieves are not inconvenienced by the change, only those who try to create fake cards.

21
0

Page:

Forums