Feeds

* Posts by Ben Liddicott

138 posts • joined 24 Mar 2010

Page:

MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'

Ben Liddicott

A secret policeman in every internet chatroom

Like the pubs and bars of Europe in 1900. Say the wrong thing ("effin' government, hang them all") and you'll be spending some time awaiting trial...

The prosecution will be dropped of course. The process is the punishment.

Yes, it is interesting that they said it... The assault on free speech continues... never let a good tragedy go to waste...

31
0

YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Ben Liddicott

You can't defend against your bodyguards...

...as Mrs Ghandi learned.

Your only option is to pick trustworthy guards... and be the sort of person they are willing to be loyal to.

7
0

Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm

Ben Liddicott

Re: TOR is and always has been an NSA honeypot

Prove it isn't.

It's a US Department of Defense (Navy, then DARPA) project in the first place, so the default assumption has to be that it doesn't protect you against USG. And the NSA is part of the DOD and its chief is ... an Admiral of the US Navy.

And: Yes I think most anonymity services and software packages are honeypots.

Probably they aren't *all* honeypots, but who can tell which aren't? Surely the question is not whether they are compromised by government, but by which government?

And even those which aren't pwned by the NSA (or another agency - probably more than one), are effectively honeypots to the NSA because they can de-anonymize any real-time traffic just based on their overview of network activity.

1
1
Ben Liddicott

TOR is and always has been an NSA honeypot

Why not get your enemies to self-identify?

Here Enemies = Anyone who doesn't want to live in a panopticon.

7
2

HMRC dishes out tax rewards to GOV.UK... for inking deals with MEGABUCKS SIs

Ben Liddicott

Re: Does this mean...

No, nothing to do with businesses. This is purely an internal government accounting thing.

0
0
Ben Liddicott

This is Government refunding Government - nobody saves any money

This guidance doesn't affect businesses at all.

The article is unclear, but this is talking about whether **government departments** can get a rebate for VAT paid on various purchases. Government "services" are not VATable so they are not able to reclaim VAT on inputs against the VAT they (don't) charge in the same way as businesses. The purpose of the rebate is to ensure that outside suppliers aren't placed at an automatic 20% cost disadvantage over using internal staff for the same job. I.e. it is not so much to encourage outsourcing, as to create a level playing field for it.

As such only outsourced services which substitute for employing internal staff are supposed to be VAT-rebate-able.

Hence bespoke software = Yes, renting Cloud Servers = No. Outsourcing systems administration ought to be Yes, but I haven't read the guidance. Of course cloud servers come with a sysadmin element, so if I was a supplier I would rewrite my contract to break that out as a separate purchase so as to remove the pricing disadvantage as intended by the rules.

(Remember VAT is paid on sales, but reclaimed on VATable inputs. So in net-net it is only actually paid on NON-VATable inputs, which are: Capital costs (i.e. profits/your mums pension), Staff costs (i.e. labour/wages), and Imports (i.e. foreign capital and foreign labour)).

3
0

Yorkshire man NICKS 1,000 Orange customer records. Court issues TINY FINE

Ben Liddicott

Blame the prosecutor: He could have been charged with fraud.

Making a false statement with intent to obtain an advantage (or cause harm to another) is fraud, carrying 5 years in prison.

The lesser "pretexting" offence should only be used when there is no such intent.

No need for a change in the law, just proper prosecutions.

8
0

Reg mobile man: National roaming plan? Oh UK.gov, you've GOT to be joking

Ben Liddicott

What makes you think it's an accident?

So we have:

* Consumers want (or ought to want) industry to compete to improve quality.

* As any fule no, industry doesn't like competing, they would much rather cooperate which allows them to keep nice high margins for delivering a poor service

* Industry certainly doesn't really want to build loads of sites - they would rather share.

* Currently not allowed to share as it is anticompetitive.

* Now government is telling them they ***must*** share...

Government ignorance? Or do they know exactly what they are doing? Economics is one of the things taught in PPE you know, along with politics.

Look for campaign donations, relatives on Telco boards etc...

OTOH, if they are sincere, we could have the best of both worlds with mandatory roaming with a mandatory high termination charge - which they aren't allowed to pass directly to the subscriber (i.e. can only charge the same as a non-roamed call/data). That retains the incentive to build while providing covering. Indeed, the higher the roaming charge, the more incentive to build! O2 could make a nice lot of money building stations in the Highlands for Vodafone users to roam to!

1
0

Why solid-state disks are winning the argument

Ben Liddicott

Long-term deep storage

SSDs require power to be connected every few months or they start to fade. Here, we are competing with tape though.

1
0

Yes, Samaritans, the law DOES apply to you. Even if you mean well

Ben Liddicott

Domestic purposes

So the purpose of the processing is to enable you as an individual to be notified of certain tweets, and for you as an individual to possibly do something about them? The Samaritans are doing the processing but only on behalf of individuals who want these notifications about those they follow?

Sounds like "Domestic purposes" to me, which is an absolute exception to the DPA.

1
1

Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars

Ben Liddicott

Re: Nice Review

Consider the Discovery then. Everything listed above, and a lot coming second hand onto the market now.

1
0

Apple's warrant canary riddle: Cock-up, conspiracy, or anti-Google point-scoring

Ben Liddicott

"Order" vs. "Requests".

To date, Apple has not received any orders for bulk data.

So they've joined the inner circle, and are now voluntarily handing bulk data over, without being ordered to do so?

If you want to tighten up the warrant canary, you don't re-word it to be more vague, you add additional clauses for the other thinks you have also not done.

This is an ex-canary.

3
1

It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

Ben Liddicott

Volunteers?

I think you mean the employees of IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Dell, HP, Canonical, and the Linux Foundation etc who are paid to update the kernel (and the other essential parts) as part of their (paid) job.

2
0

BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

Ben Liddicott

Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

Why? The BBC is full of adverts. Mostly for itself, but still.

21
11

4th Century GOBLET could REVIVE CORPSE of holographic storage

Ben Liddicott

It's the storage technology of tomorrow.... and has been for twenty years

Cos, you know, it allows you to store information in the depth of the media. Unlike, say, a four-layer DVD. Wait, what?

Or, you know, an stacked-die flash chip.

Seriously, holographic storage will take off never. It's a non-story and always will be.

1
4

EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'

Ben Liddicott

Of course it is a free speech issue.

It is so the great and the good can hide from us that they are neither as great nor as good as they pretend.

If in doubt, it isn't for your benefit.

2
1

What's in your toolbox? Why the browser wars are so last decade

Ben Liddicott

Debugging experience is better in IE

If you are using IIS and Webforms or MVC, you can set breakpoints in javascript, and use the same debugger to step between server and client side code. It really helps.

0
0

Web moguls ask YOU to stump up big money to STOP big money from winning in Washington

Ben Liddicott

Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

"To me, this speaks volumes not only of how you view the world, but how you treat others and the level to which you are capable of dehumanizing others."

Um, yes. Because I view people as being capable of making up their own minds having listened to different opinions and decided who to believe, I am dehumanising them and I am a sociopath.

"This almost always works, when the craft is employed by a skilled practitioner. This is because our species is exceptionally vulnerable to emotional and instinctual manipulation. Rational thought and logic are still relatively new evolutionary adaptations and they can be easily overridden by emotion."

You don't trust people to decide what to allow into their own heads. So you want to try to control the process. That's what dehumanising looks like.

I think as a discussion this has gone as far as it can go without degenerating into those long usenet discussions where we each respond to each counter-point with two counterpoints, and post-lengths blow up exponentially until each reply takes a whole day and we both forget where we got to. Happy days, many an hour spent etc...

But this: If we are all being manipulated so our beliefs come from omnipotent/omniscient evil social scientists we need to be protected from, then where did you get your belief that that is the case?

"I checked out the studies". Did you? Did you check the press release matched the abstract? That it matched the conclusions? That they matched the data? "Of course!" Liar. Check one out, any one (I'll wait) and you'll find that at each stage you dig down from press release to the conclusions and find the effect is only 20% (p> 0.97, sample size 23), and brush aside a tear, then dig down further as the evidence gets weaker at every stage, and when you hit the bedrock of actual data and find it is composed of compressed college students average age 21 will you ask yourself "I wonder if this generalises to 48 y/o slaughterhouse workers in the Midwest?". You will not.

People can't be trusted to make their own decisions because the media manipulates them. You know this because the media told you. "But not Murdoch media" So that's OK right? MC Escher calls. He's ready for your close up.

0
0
Ben Liddicott

Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

"everyone, from politicians to advertising companies uses decades of research into psychology, psychiatry and social dynamics to ensure that they control how people vote, even when people are aware of the means employed to manipulate them"

So while most people are too stupid to see through this, nevertheless you are immune and your own support for curtailing free speech through the use of oppressive campaign laws cannot possibly be the product of the same types of forces? If you really take your own assertion seriously you should right now be disappearing "through the looking glass"-style into an MC Escher engraving depicting the Cretan Liar paradox.

Why do I think it is a left-right issue? Because you seem to want to use that (dubious, exaggerated, hyperbolic) assertion as an excuse to make people you disagree with shut up, by preventing them using money to reach an audience. Which is typically a left-wing preoccupation. "The poor still don't all vote for us, in spite of the welfare state! They must be indoctrinated by the Fox. Let's do something about it". No, they hate you. "But we keep offering them more and more money for doing nothing!". That's why they hate you.

---

Nit picks:

* "Manipulate" is just a pejorative term for "persuade". Hyperbole.

* it isn't decades - it's millennia - the earliest extant academic work on the subject is 2400 years old. But pretend it is a new problem and you can pretend new measures are needed.

* control is an exaggeration. They attempt to persuade them to vote in particular ways.

* Commercial advertising however distasteful is trying to sell stuff not control the vote. Conflating two things only related by their methods not their objectives to make the problem look bigger. Hyperbole.

So that's:

"Everyone uses what they know of human nature to persuade others to do what they want, and have done since time immemorial. Advertisers try to get you to buy stuff. Politicians try to get you to vote for them. Kids try to get out of doing their homework/get you to lend them twenty to go to the cinema. This sometimes works, even though people know that is what they are doing - and they do since they do it themselves."

Not much left after the nits are picked, is there?

0
1
Ben Liddicott

Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

First, I suggest you get a tissue to wipe the foam flecks from your screen. You are basically saying:

* Candidates can tailor the message and might be lying

* And people are too stupid to make simple judgements and need to be protected from deceptive messages

I agree with the first, which reinforces my point - if they lying or tailoring the message it is because they know people won't vote for a message they hate. So it in no way contradicts what I said. I never said it would be an honest message.

But if politicians are lying who is going to point that out when everyone outside the system is effectively silenced by campaign finance rules? When the FEC and IRS investigates genuine grass roots campaigns, with the connivance of BOTH big parties, to shut them down/shut them up?

But of course they are the campaigns of Conservatives (= free as in freedom = liberal from the latin Libre) whereas I guess you are a Liberal ( = free as in beer = socialist, from the latin socius or comrade). So that's alright. Free speech is only for Liberals! No Platform!

But clearly I am an uninformed rube.

(Is this a change in comments policy? Does this mean I get to call you names too?)

0
1
Ben Liddicott

Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

The unions are doing it. In the US, the Dems get masses of money from the education unions, police unions, and lawyers.

0
0
Ben Liddicott

If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

This will all pay for TV ads, leaflets, and annoying robo-calls to get your message across, but if the voters don't like your message no amount of repetition will win you the election.

3
5

Cisco open-sources experimental cipher

Ben Liddicott

What is wrong with CTR mode?

CTR mode effectively converts a block cipher into a stream cipher, eliminating the need for padding.

CTR is the only mode you need.

1
0

Today's get-rich-quick scheme: Build your own bank

Ben Liddicott

Sealing wax hasn't been used for computer systems since the late 70's.

Chewing gum is what is used now - usually Nicorette these days due to the smoking ban.

3
0

Help. Mailing blacklists...

Ben Liddicott

Re: OK here is what you need to do

"As a small shop I don't have that sort of time to waste, but if I ever get rich, I'll sue the f*cking shirt off every single one of them who does this."

That's like renting a shop in a bad neighbourhood, and complaining that people don't come to your shop because they don't want to be mugged.

So you are going to sue the people who told them it was a bad neighbourhood.

Change neighbourhood - get a new ISP.

0
0
Ben Liddicott

OK here is what you need to do

0. Most important. Fix the problem. It is no good trying to get de-listed if their own logs tell them you are still emitting spam. You may need to be able to tell people what happened and what you have done to fix it.

1. It is no good asking them why you are blocked, unless you have definitively determined that it is a specific decision taken by them in your case (even automatically). More likely, you are blocked because they use a reputation service.

2. So you need to check your status on ALL commonly used reputation services.

3. What is a reputation service? It is someone's opinion, based on their published policies, that your IP address or email domain meets the criteria to be listed on that service - usually the criteria can be determined automatically, but sometimes the lists are curated manually. In other words, it is an expression of opinion, not an instruction to anyone to block you. Mail operators may choose to use such lists to block outright, or as part of a scoring system, and usually in combination with a whitelist/blacklist of their own. (For example you would usually whitelist your bigger customers - you don't want to lose an order for a million widgets just because an over-enthusiastic salesperson got your customer listed on one of these lists).

4. So find out who has listed you.

Check both your IP address and email addresses against all blacklists. Robtex is a service which can do this for you:

https://www.robtex.com/

So for example if your email domain is theregister.co.uk and your mail server is aspmx.l.google.com, then bung the IP address 173.194.66.26 into the box at the top, then hit the "blacklists" link and it will tell you if you are listed by any blacklists.

Do the same with the domain.

5. Then you need to jump through the relevant hoops with each and every blacklist which has listed you. In most cases you can get de-listed (once) by asking. But not in all cases. Some will only de-list you after a month - but these are little-used.

Generally, if you can get off all the lists, you will find you can get mail delivered again. But that's the first thing you need to do.

Alternatively

An alternative would be to actually move your mail domain to Google, or Outlook.com. They already do all the rate-limiting, outbound filtering of spam and other defence-in-depth measures you will need, and have developed relationships with all the other large mail providers to report abusive users.

4
1
Ben Liddicott

Join MAILOP

Join the Mail Operators List, and ask there.

mailop@mailop.org

http://chilli.nosignal.org/mailman/listinfo/mailop

0
0

EBAY... You keep using that word 'ENCRYPTION' – it does not mean what you think it means

Ben Liddicott

Re: Seasoning

Salt should be cryptographically random.

0
0

WHOMP! There it is: IBM demos 154TB tape

Ben Liddicott

"""A follow-on thought: If tape density can more than double every 30 months then it could well outpace disk density improvements and cement its role as the archive medium."""

* Tape storage halves in price per GB every 30 months

* HDD storage halves in price per GB every 18 months.

* Flash SSD storage halves in price per GB every 12 months.

So at what point will HDD take over from tape?

At what point will SSD take over from HDD?

At what point will SSD take over from tape? (Possibly never to this one. Currently, high capacity SSD needs to be powered up every few months).

1
0

Japanese cops arrest man with five 3D printed guns at home

Ben Liddicott

"Gun Deaths" include self defence. Self defence is good. Murder is bad, even if no gun is used.

As a result, Japan has some of the lowest rates of gun death in the world, with around 0.06 firearms fatalities per 100,000 people. Here in the Land of the Free, where pretty much anyone can own a gun with minimal oversight or training, that figure is 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

"Gun Deaths" is a false category. What is wrong with it? It focusses on the method instead of culpability.

Firstly it combines culpable homicide, self-defence, and suicide, as if they were morally equally problematic. Secondly it suggests that gun homicides make up a category of murders which would not otherwise exist. Neither of these rhetorical devices is legitimate, but both are necessary to make out that guns are a real problem.

* Suicide rates are similar in most countries, but in the USA the gun is often the method of choice. Take the guns away and there are plenty of bridges. There is no reason to think the overall level of suicide will change, since suicide is a deliberate act.

* "Domestic Gun Homicide" is much higher in the USA as the anti-gun campaigners will tell you. It is also much higher in US states with high levels of gun ownership in the home. However in this statistic "homicide" conflates self-defence and murder. And "Gun Homicide" excludes fatal stabbing and beatings. If you add back the non-gun domestic homicides, there is little difference in overall "domestic homicide" rates. But if you then separate out those into murder and self defence an interesting picture emerges. States with low levels of gun ownership have 90% murder, 10% self defence, 90% female fatalities, mostly non-gun deaths. States with high levels of gun ownership have 50% murder, 50% self defence, 50% female fatalities, 50% gun deaths. In other words the high levels of "Domestic Gun Homicide" is almost entirely accounted for by **women defending themselves**.

So there.

The USA does have a high level of murder, but if you exclude drug and gang turf wars, that vanishes too. If you are not yourself a criminal, your risk of murder is no higher in the USA than the UK.

2
0

Cameras for hacks: Idiot-proof suggestions invited

Ben Liddicott

Also...

Also:

* Wide is more important than Zoom.

* Aperture is more important than megapixels

* Speed-to-shot is also very important.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/09/19/nikon-1-aw1-released-as-world-s-first-rugged-waterproof-mirrorless-digital-camera

Looks great, shoots fast, big sensor, big lens, wide angles, fast shutter, waterproof and shockproof:

On Amazon

0
0
Ben Liddicott

Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

Ben Liddicott

BND is as close to NSA as GCHQ is...

"Lavaboom was founded by Felix Müller-Irion in Germany, so presumably it stands a reasonably good chance of staying as NSA proof as possible."

Germany's spy body BND has excellent links with the Americans and British. As you would expect given the number of American and British troops in Germany, and the history of the cold war, when of course the partition between east and west was the front line. Rumour has it they are particularly good at tapping fibre-optic lines.

If you want to be proof against the NSA, set up in China. Of course you will then have the Chinese authorities to deal with, so it's not like you will be better off...

1
1

Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Ben Liddicott

Only 6 years after C#...

It's not just a better Java.

It's a much better Java.

4
1

Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

Ben Liddicott

Erm... really?

Why does a "feed the hungry" charity need to have a position on the Israel/Palestine question?

Why do they need a position on Global Warming? Or Social Justice?

I would have plenty of time for them if they stuck to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

But that's not glamorous enough, it seems.

77
12

Eight hour cleansing to get all the 'faggots' and 'bitches' OUT of Github

Ben Liddicott

Made me laugh... :-)

0
0

UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard

Ben Liddicott

Re: Thanks

"""My personal preference is UTF-8 done with a plain text editor """

So bold and italic are out? Hyperlinks are out? Photographs, illustrations, and embedded graphs are out? In all official documents?

Come on! Join the 1990s already.

2
2
Ben Liddicott

Learn to use your tools, workman.

Edit->Paste Special-> Unformatted Text

Keyboard: Alt+E, S, U

Or in the new version,

Home->Paste Menu -> Special-> Unformatted Text

Keyboard: Alt+H, V, S, U

Learn to use your tools, workman, instead of blaming them.

2
4

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Ben Liddicott

No, get a dictionary

The "liberals" abandoned freedom in favour of progressivism enforced by the state - trading free-as-in-freedom for free-as-in-beer.

The "neoliberals" are those who decided that actually freedom was not only more effective at achieving social goals, but just maybe, more important than those goals.

Freedom is worth risking our lives for. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be robbed of it on the pretext that at least that way we won't starve.

After all, if the people are prepared to fight and die for freedom, it is bizarre and wrong to take away their freedom in the name of preserving their lives.

2
1

Facebook turns 10: Big Brother isn't Mark Zuckerberg. It's YOU

Ben Liddicott

We just need to man up (and woman up)

"""In short, we’ve become our own policemen. Zuckerberg's great empowering hides that he’s helped usher in an age of conformity. One we’ve really created for ourselves. """

Maybe we just need to all grow a pair, and just say what we think. The illusion of unanimity would soon fall away, and with it the pressure to conform.

7
0

Mail Migration

Ben Liddicott

What from? What to?

You cannot plan the migration until you know what you will be migrating from, and what to.

You should refuse to give any estimates until you know the destination platform. If they insist, say "between N weeks and 6 months depending on what the destination platform is".

Meantime if you actually want advice at least tell us what you are migrating from. Presumably you know that much, right?

0
0

How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Ben Liddicott

Nesta had ***four*** grandiose ambitions

Ambition zero was the most important:

0. Provide a way to funnel money and/or power to parasitical government hangers-on - friends, relatives, lovers, minders and fixers, those who've done favours and those from whom you expect favours.

That's the real job most quangos do.

The real lesson is don't expect anything from the government. Sell your house. Find an investor. Find an investor who will sell his house. But don't go near the zombie hand of government "assistance".

14
0

French gov used fake Google certificate to read its workers' traffic

Ben Liddicott

Re: Proxies

Exactly so.

Essentially the same as this story here:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/02/09/tustwave_disavows_mitm_digital_cert/

Don't use work computers for personal use, people!

Also, don't use personal computers for work use.

4
2

Google lets users slurp own Gmail, Calendar data

Ben Liddicott

Re: They only do it because they legally have to.

It's commendable that Google are obeying the law without actually having an injunction against them?

That's a pretty low bar for "commendable".

0
1
Ben Liddicott

Re: They only do it because they legally have to.

Write a letter to their service address, including a cheque for £10. Await a CD in the post.

3
3
Ben Liddicott

They only do it because they legally have to.

The "Data Liberation Front" stuff is just posturing - "Look we let you export your data because we are so open and friendly and definitely not evil. (And also we don't want a multi-billion pound fine)".

They have to allow users to obtain data about themselves under Data Protection Act for a maximum fee of £10.

Technically not all of it would be required because not all of it is "about" the user. But working out which bits are exempt would be a manual job which there is no way they want to do, and in any case cannot be done for £10. (The fact that you sent an email is information about you. The contents may or may not be about you. But to determine that someone would have to read it. Easier just to say "it is your data, download it if you want").

So in fact they have a legal obligation to allow export of a subset, which subset could only be determined at great cost. Therefore, in practice, they have no option whatsoever but to provide an "export everything" function.

So with a billion users, what else can they do but form a team and say "provide a self-managed export-everything function".

And also because, morally, it is the user's property. An increasingly rare example of law doing its proper job of being the enforceable legal embodiment of a moral right.

3
5

FreeBSD abandoning hardware randomness

Ben Liddicott

Linux wasn't using RDRAND directly

Linux never used RDRAND directly, it used its own random number generator then XOR'd the result with RDRAND output. The effect of this is that if EITHER the Linux algorithm output is good, OR the RDRAND output is good, THEN the final output is good.

He knows what he is talking about, those criticising didn't.

1
0

Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study

Ben Liddicott

Enterprise drives are not supposed to be more reliable.

They are supposed to be faster, typically spinning at 7200 rpm. In return, they sacrifice obviously more wear because of the higher speed. They are also supposed to be kept in a controlled and protected environment, and are typically deployed in RAID1/5/6 configurations where failure can be coped with.

Consumer drives on the other hand have to cope with rough handling, be it in tower cases under the desk which are regularly kicked or knocked, or laptops which suffer even worse. They are also deployed in environments where there is no redundancy and often no backup.

Of course consumer ones are going to be more reliable. Its an obvious consequence of the engineering brief.

0
3

How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

Ben Liddicott

Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

One downvoter thinks either that the F-word is professional and serious, or that they know my mother better than I do.

2
2
Ben Liddicott

Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

So you know my mother better than I do now?

I am just not going to send my mother an article which uses the F-word. It not only is coarse and unnecessary, it looks unprofessional and unserious, and detracts from the message.

She will have to remain uninformed about this important issue, which is a shame.

1
3

Page: