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* Posts by Arthur Dent

77 posts • joined 20 Aug 2010

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Language-mangling Germans fling open Handygate to selfie-snapping whistleblowers

Arthur Dent

Or perhaps even "ist eine Fotze" ?

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Japanese quantum boffins 'may have the key to TELEPORTATION'

Arthur Dent
Boffin

Re: A few minor implications...

You haven't got an "above" trend - or if you have, you haven't got enough data to see what the trend is. For example it would be reasonable to llok at it and say the increase in teh first half-century was a factor of 20, in teh next half century it was a factor of 5, so maybe the increase factor goes down by a factor of four each half century - so for 2050 a good prediction might be 125Hp, which is a long way from your 1000Hp. Of course there's no reason to believe that a regular factor beteen each half-century makes any more sense than a series that alternates divide by 4 and muliply by 2 (which delivers 10 for teh third gap, so fits your 1000Hp).

My point is that on this data you have no evidence to suggest any value at all for 2050 - claiming it imolies "probably around 1000Hp" is just nonsense.

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Boffins build electronic tongue that can distinguish between BEERS

Arthur Dent
Pint

American Microbreweries

Interesting to see comments that suggest good beer is noweasy to get in the USA. However I find the opposing comments much easier to believe. However it is seven years since I last was on the wrong side of the Atlantic, so things may have improved.

However, between 1994 and 2006 (inclusive) I visited the USA several times, and sampled the products of microbreweries at places recommended by Americans in Seattle, LA, SF, Cambridge MA, and Chicago. Everything I found was close to undrinkable - a great deal worse even that American imitation draft Guinness. I also tried to find drinkable beer in New Hampshire (I think there were no microbreweries there then) and ended up drinking anything but beer.

I've drunk beer in Scotland, England, Wales, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Fdance, Mongaco, Spain, Italy, Jugoslavia (in each of what are now Serbia, Bosnia, Coatia, Slovenia), Austria, Germany, Czeck Republic, Romania, Hungary, India, Barbados, Egypt, and Sri Lanka, and in all but the last three I could get vastly better beer in any bar I walked off the street into than any I've ever found in the USA - and in teh last three the beer in the hotels, while not as good as European beer, was better than anything I ever found in the USA.

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Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

Arthur Dent
Boffin

@bigtimehustler

> Although you could not contest the law in a normal court here, you could take it to the high court, fully knowing you intend to take it the European Court of Human rights as being forced to reveal your password (when you may not know it) is a contravention of your rights, seeing as you may not know the password, probably under cruel and unusual punishment.

Unfortunately for this line of argument, not knowing the password is a valid defense; in theory the prosecution have to prove beyond rasonable doubt that you are lying when you say you don't know it. Of course it's up to the jury to decide what is reasonable, but I suspect that in a case like this one the jury would believe the prosecution case, not you.

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Arthur Dent

@bigtimehustler

> Although you could not contest the law in a normal court here, you could take it to the high court, fully knowing you intend to take it the European Court of Human rights as being forced to reveal your password (when you may not know it) is a contravention of your rights, seeing as you may not know the password, probably under cruel and unusual punishment.

Unfortunately for this line of argument, not knowing the password is a valid defense; in theory the prosecution have to prove beyond rasonable doubt that you are lying when you say you don't know it. Of course it's up to the jury to decide what is reasonable, but I suspect that in a case like this one the jury would believe the prosecution case, not you.

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Arthur Dent

Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

> "AFAICT (and IANAL) in this context the section 49 notice would require authorisation under the Police Act 1977 part 3 which means a police commissioner or chief constable (or deputies) so not quite as open to abuse as you suggest though far from judicial oversight (which is available as an alternative authorisation for a section 49 notice)"

Judicial authorisation is (or was in the 2000 act) only available when the material for which plain text or a key is required was obtained through an action undertaken with judicial authorisation. The Chief or Assistant rule only applies when the material was obtained under section 3 of the police act 1997 (which I imagine is the act you intended to reference), which also has a or section 44 of the terrorism act 2000. As a decryption key was needed in this case, the ability to deputise to lower levels would not apply (if provision of the plain text had been acceptable, someone could do it with delegated authority - and chiefs can designate a rank any of whose holders count as delegated in the event that the main authorities are unavailable; in the police that rank could be as low as superintendant, and usually was superintendant back in the days when the original code of practise was in force - but I imagine that it has changed a bit in the last 13 years.

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Arthur Dent

Re: The real solution to stop terrorism ...

There are a few changes in resource usage that could be more useful than switching effort from antiterrorism. For example we could make all those nasty drug things availanble from state-organised shops at a far lower price than the current criminal system delivers them, and put a lot of big criminals out of business while making a nice income for the state which could perhaps be used on helping people hooked on the really bad stuff, probably reducing a lot of small scale crime because addicts would not have to spend so much to servuice their habits, and completely eliminating the process of dealers persuading people to step up from comparatively harmless drogs to more harmful (and more expensive) ones. Or we could scrap nuclear armaments and use the savings either to produce some useful naval power and give the army some of the reources it needs instead of just cutting it back while throwing ever-growing commitments at it or, if defence is less important, to reduce the fiscal deficit.

But the chances of a British government adopting any sort of sensible policy on anti-terrorism, drugs, human rights, surveillance, immingration, defence, or taxation are even less than those of democracy replacing plutocracy in the USA; recent years of Labour government took us in the wrong direction on all those thigs, and the current mob have continued to push most of the same antidemocratic statist and syndicalist ideas.

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Arthur Dent

Re: Not "complying" is the crime, not the results of complying.

> > A section 49 request, which may then lead to prosecution under section 53 has to authorised in the same way as a search warrant.

> >

> No, that's not true.

>

> A search warrant has to be authorised by a magistrate.

No, it doesn't. In England and Wales a police inspector (or any higher rank constable) can authorise a search in some circumstances (for example to find evidence which is at risk of being destroyed if the search is delayed), so not all searches require a warrant authorised by a magstrate (and this power is easily abused - - for example it's been know for the authorisatio to have been issued after the search took place because the inspector wasn't available fast enough; but I'm not sure whether the inspector's authorisation is even required by law, as opposed to by policy or regulation or guidance promulgated by ACPO or some such body). Certainly any police constable can conduct an unwarranted search of your car or your person without even authorisation from an inspector or higher oficer if he has "reasonable grounds for suspicion" that he will find items of certain tyoes, and if a serious violent incident has taken place he/she doesn't even have to have reasonable grounds.

Of course it is completely different in Scotland - a vehicle or premises can't be searched without authorisation by a sheriff - although that may have changed in the last 21 months, I'm not up to date. (stratchclyde police were agitating for power to search without authorisation at the Aviemore SPF conference in 2012).

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Arthur Dent

Re: Vladimir Plouzhnikov

@M Gale, yes I can fit between 74 and 80 minues of CD quality digital audio on a CD. In fact I've been making copies of some of my vinyl using two 44,100 16 bit samples/sec LPCM encoded channels because that lofi stuff is all most CD players can handle. It's fine for playing on low quality speakers driven by low quality amps;. But that doesn't mean you can get anything like 80 minutes of decent hifi aufio on a cd. It's possible in theory to get reasonably hifi digital audio, but generally not in ptactice. For example using AAC in mpeg4 container quality equivalent to CD quality can be done with rather fewer bits than a CD would use, so presumably a good jump in bit-rate would give decent (two channel stereo) hi-fi - but where is the gear to play that decent hifi? Similarly, 5-channel suround sound can be provided with that same low fidelity for about 40kbytes per second of sound, so presumably high fidelity would be possible with a jump in bit-rate; but no reasonably priced equipment to play it back exists.

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Chocolate Factory hits the Translate button on Google+

Arthur Dent

I'm not at all impressed by Google Translate. Errors like its translation of "My dog pants when exercised too much" into anything I can make head or tail of are amusing but indicate that it doesn't do any useful parsing to help decide which way to go when it encounters something which has a homonym but is a completely different part of speech. Almost anything but simple single clause sentences will be garbled quite horribly, with arbitrary choice of which noun an adjective qualifies - it can get that wrong even when proximity and grammatical number and gender both indicate clearly what is right - and does utterly lunatic things with word order. It fails to make use of noun cases to determine the nouns' functions in a sentence in languages which have cases for common nouns. It seems to work on remarkably short word sequences, so that it fails on anything that requires context - but natural language syntax is not context free for any language in the world! And the detours via English mentioned by Manolo ensure that the number of errors is doubled when translating between two languages neither of which is English.

The free translators at reverse.net are quite a bit nicer than google translate, for the languages that they cover (far fewer than google translate covers); and they take feedback from users so that problems can be identified and fixed, while google translate appears to have no feedback mechanism.

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Romans, Han Dynasty, kick-started climate change

Arthur Dent

Re: Scrap climate change "research".

Understanding (or attempting to understand) the climate is indeed a valid line of scientific enquiry; but that doesn't appear to be what many climate xo-called scientists are doing, and the paper in question doesn't appear to contribute to that endeavour.

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SHA-3 hash finalist Schneier calls for halt in crypto contest

Arthur Dent
Boffin

Re: DES

3DES is not really broken, but: due to known attack methods, the 168 bit key version (triple DES keying option 1) has an effective difficulty of only 112 bits, and according to NIST the 112 bit key version (triple DES keying option 2) has an effective difficulty of only 80 bits. NIST has stated that 3DES is unsuitable for anything that needs to remain usecure beyond the year 2030.

Rijndael is evenless broken: the 128 bit key version has an effective difficulty of 126.1 bits, which is vastly better that 3DES with keying option 2 (the 3DES version with nearest keylength) and noticeability better than 3DES with option 1 which has a much longer key. The 192 bit version (the key length nearest to 3DES with option 1, which is the strongest versin of 3DES) has an effective difficulty of 189.7 bits, vastly superior to anything 3DES can do. And Rijndael also permits a 256 bit key (88 bits longer than the key length in 3DES keying option 1) with an effective difficulty of 254.4 bits.

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Microsoft releases VMware-eater

Arthur Dent

Re: Ho hum....

<quote>"Greater reliability - you mean like cross datacentre clustering and replication free in the base Hyper-V product?"

Only because Windows needs it. When you build a custom hypervisor that doesn't have a reliance on an ancient codebase you tend to get better uptime.</quote>

Without things like cross-centre clustering and replication how do you cope with physical catastrophes? Things like fire, flood, lighning strike, big truck crashes through machine room wall, earthquake takes down building containing system, terrorist assault on public power system leaves you to run on battery backup & standby generator, with no prospect of being able to get extra fuel or restored external power before you run out of fuel for standby generator? Those are the sort of things cross-centre clustering and replication can deal with. I will bet you can't explain how VMWare deals with them as part of the basic license with additional license costs (because it must be hard to explain how it does something it doesn't do).

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Senate hears Microsoft and HP avoided billions in US taxes

Arthur Dent
Boffin

Re: "What stinks is having such a high tax rate.................

@Artic Fox: "When Thatcher's regime in the early eighties made huge cuts in the upper tax bands rich individuals and companies simply said "thank you very much" and carried on avoiding even those taxes"

It seems remarkable then that the reductions in Income Tax upper bands led to a vast increase in income tax xuccessfully collected by the Inland Revenue. The numbers are in the public domain, and easily found.

It's unfortunately not at all remarkable that such counterfactual nonsense received so many up-votes.

I hated most of Thatche's policies, but blatant untruths like yours lead only to a reduction in the credibility of eeryone who objects to "Thatcherism" so I'll correct it whenever I see it.

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Agility without anxiety

Arthur Dent

Sure, some people can do something sensible with Agile - after all it's only the bringing together of much that was best practise long before the term "Agile" was coined. On the other had, many companies use something that they call "Agile" but is actually a distillation of the worst cowboy development practises imaginable. The majority of people using "Agile" fall into the latter group, not the former. So any survery of what Agile does in the software development inductry will inevitably give it a resounding panning, because what most companies using something they call "Agile" are not using what the people at outfits like Pixar or Perforce call "Agile".

This of course is caused by having utterly incompetent management in charge of deciding how development will be done, and by the fact that when utterly incompetent managers see a shiny new buzzword like "Agile" they go and skim-read enough about it to extract some disconneted misinterpretations that support their lunatic pre-conceived ideas and then go an impose those on the development teams under the banner of the shiny new buzzword.

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Lawyer up on your way into the cloud

Arthur Dent
Flame

Oh dear, there must be some idiots out there

I read this little pasage:

"A big cultural change has to happen especially among your developer community,” argued Dev

Kohol, executive director of enterprise infrastructure at Morgan Stanley.

“They don’t understand when you move to a service-oriented delivery model you become more

restricted. You can’t just call up the local sys admin or database guy and ask them to add this or

that feature.”

The result of reading was at first that Morgan Stanley has a complete idiot for director of enterprise infrastructure. Second thoughts suggested that I had been too hard on Morgan Stanley, and there was a careful and deliberate running together of two originally dseparated and clearly unrelated sentences (a very common journalistic strategem, which I'm sure I've seen nearly as often in El Reg as in The Guradian). My third thought was that the first thought was probably right after all, it's quite likely that Morgean Stanley has a director of enterprise infrastructure who is stupid enough to believe that it's usually developers, not users, who ask for new features - they'll be a typical financial services firm whose management think that way, despite all the evedence to the contrary that's right under their noses.

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How I went from Unix engineering to flogging Google apps

Arthur Dent

"The" cloud - pure mythology!

What awful waffle. There's no such thing as "the cloud", and anyone working on the assumption that there is is just plain wrong. There are several assorted clouds - some essentially "private clouds", some essentially "public clouds", but no great big individual thing that can be called "the cloud". We've had these in one form or another for quite some time now, and their existence contributed to the myth of "the cloud"; but experience has taught the early adopters that "the cloud" is not something that one should trust critical data to, and not one that one hould trust essentially secret data to, and those who understand are building their own "private clouds" for the critical data and for the secret data, while using what might be thought of asd "the cloud" id all those private clouds didn't exist for storage of non-critical data (where it doesn't matter if it's inaccessible for the odd few days here and there) and for non-secret data (where it doesn't matter that someone else controls access and encryption).

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Motorola Mobility loses to Microsoft in German patent battle

Arthur Dent

Re: MS will be forced to refund extorted fees

"And that's why patents like these get through". It's a systemic problem. A fundamental design flaw. Railing at Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Motorola, etc. helps precisely not one whit. You need to change the laws."

The laws already require a technical inventive step and say you can't paint anything that's obvious to a competent practitioner who is au fait with teh state of the art. So maybe what's wanted is for them to be enforced by the courts, since the USPO is clearly not ghoing to do it. I'm not sure European patent offices are in general much better.

Surely "breaking messages into shorter ones to facilitate transmission" has been there since very early data comms days; it's in HDLC, it's in TCP, it's in SNA, it's even in several good old Basic Mode protocols. And of course it goes back a lot further than that - people have been using two sheets of paper for long messages for quite a while, we even have sequence numbering of the fragments (books with page numbers date from centuries ago).

Oh dear, are BT's adverts in violation of this IP, the ones that suggest you cut your very long phone calls into chenks of one hour or less so that you can have them for free (if you are on one of the tariffs where calls up to than one hour long to UK numbers are free) - or maybe inciting others to violate that IP?

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Road deaths spark crackdown on jaywalking texter menace

Arthur Dent

Re: Darwin rules (AC 15th at 11:27)

For me, I'll say that roughly 90% of the pedal cyclists I encounter ignore road signs, traffic lights, and the rules of the road in general; they are often pretty ill-mannered and obnoxious too, jeering at people they have inconvenienced or harmed by their rotten behaviour. If all you can say about mortorcyclists is that "more than 50%" are rude and impatient I guess you encounter far nicer motorcyclists than I do pedal cyclists. Of course car drivers are pretty bad too - a lot will deliberately drive at pedestrians when there is no footway, waving at them to get off the road (presumably to try to walk along the tope of a hedge that won't take their weight). I personally think motorcyclists are generally the most polite and patient of road users, although it's more than half a century since I was last on a motorbike.

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Google fined for stalling Street View cars' Wi-Fi slurp probe

Arthur Dent

Re: No wonder

Evidence of reglator capture, perhaps? It's at least three decimal orders of magnitude lower that the minimal amount that could have been regarded as a mild slap on the wrist for failing to cooperate with the investigation.

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Apple fights off ebook suit with anti-Amazon defence

Arthur Dent
FAIL

Re: "Apple is a liberator, not an oppressor"

Giles Jones : "Nobody is going to publish their works to a store where it can be easily copied. DRM is mandated by the media creators."

I guess you've never heard of Baen Books, then?

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Mobile banking security bypassed in fiendish malware blag

Arthur Dent
WTF?

Re: "the IMEI number, which can be found on the phone’s battery"

Not only will it not be found on the phone's battery (I just love the concept of the IMEI changing if you change the battery) but in a lot of cases #06# will not deliver any IMEI (produces an error message or a service not supported message instead). Also, I do some online things involving money and would immediately assume a scam if a bank/building society/pension fund manager/insurance company asked me for an IMEI (maybe I wouldn't be suspicious if I was taking out a new insurance policy to cover a mobile phone I hadn't previously insured with that company - but that never happens, since I don't buy expensive mobile phones and see no point in insuring the cheap ones I do buy).

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£30m gov ID scheme to be steered by dole office

Arthur Dent

Concern about privacy is fine, but maybe there is a more important point: this sort of identity service will be hacked, probably quite easily, and may be an even greater facilitator of identity theft that the National Identity Register would have been.

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Microsoft tripped up by Blighty's techie skills gap

Arthur Dent
Thumb Down

education or training

It seems pretty clear that Uden regards universities as having a training function, not an educational one.

I'm glad he presented this claptrap to a Lords committee; if he had fed it to a Commons committee they'd probably have believed him, but the Lords has a lower proportion of idiots amongst its members (I'm sure Cable and Willets think he's just wonderful, fo example).

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Death to Office or to Windows - choose wisely, Microsoft

Arthur Dent

Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Fair enough, Drew. Actually, it looks to me as if Asay is rather less in touch with the way PCs are used than the average journalist writing on iT topics is.

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RIP: Peak Oil - we won't be running out any time soon

Arthur Dent
Boffin

@Eddie Edwards

"History is History".

Yes, indeed it is, and you have made it absolutely clear that you believe that only idiots would imagine that it might be possible to learn from it.

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Arthur Dent
FAIL

Re: This is Clarkson-level journalism

"If you do the maths, the amount of oil energy in GWh consumed by the world every day is so vast that it would take an unthinkable number of nuclear power plants or (let's be optimistic) algae swamps to replace it. More than there is probably space for on the planet, in fact"

Nonsense. tClearly you are incapable of doing the maths.

|In Britain, 16 years ago more than 25% of our electric power was generated from fission reactors: there were 16 reactors in total: 1 PWR and 7 AGR delivering decent output, and 7 obsolescent (4 whose build started in the 1950s, one each from 1960, 1961 and 1962) low-capacity Magnox reactors which between them delivered about as much power as one and a half AGRs, and 1 newer (1964) medium capacity Magnox which delivered about 75% of a typical AGR output. Using modern technology we could have 25 times that capacity in a space small enough that it doesn't matter even in a densely populated area like Britain, and and with that we could power all out oil-burning devices as well as all existing coal-burning gear and still have some left over to export.

Just across the channel we have France something around 80% of electric power generation is nuclear. I've spent quite a lot of time in France over the years, and I haven't noticed that the scenery has been taken over by nuclear power stations.

In 29 years reactor output went from 200MWe (Calder Hall, first commercial output 1959) to 1250MWe (Torness, first commercial output 1988): ta factor of 6.25. If we hadn't stopped building plants we might expect a new reactor strating build about now to be in commercial operation generating about 8000MWe in 2020. That doesn't suggest vast areas of land taken over by generation at the sort of capacities that we would need.

In fact it's absolutely clear that not only are the distribution and storage problems of wind generated power worse than those of nuclear (a result of intermittency of generation), but so is the space required for generating plant.

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News of the World hacker named after court block lifted

Arthur Dent
Boffin

Re: "certainly likely"

@Andus McCoatover: so you have an oxymoron list on which you keep things which are clearly not oxymorons? Seems a bit bizarre to me!

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UK student faces extradition to US after piracy case ruling

Arthur Dent

Re: @tinker+tailor+torrent

TIf he's extradited and tried in the US, the safe harbour provisions apply. That appears to mean that he has committed no offence under US law (unless someone has served a DMCA notice on him, which I believe has not happened). Since he has committed no offence under US law, why the f*** is a district judge granting the US permission to extradite him for not committing an offence?

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Arthur Dent
Flame

RE: ok, fair's fair

No., let's do it prop[erly: let's extradite all Americans who carry a fire arm, whether licensed under American law or not, since they are not licensed under our law. That's the nearest equivalent you can get to the utter crap which is going on in this case.

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Cheap energy revives US manufacturing, skint Brits shiver

Arthur Dent
Boffin

@Simon Neill

Tidal doesn't have to have pauses, because we can have generators in different places which reach high and low tides at different times - we could have say 24 generators with no two having low time times closer together than 15 minutes, and expect to get full output from 22 and reduced from 2 at all times, so the only issue would be transmission. The technology isn't yet mature, but it could come soon.

Solar will work reasonably well in some parts of the UK, but perhaps the best chance for solar power for the UK is to import solar-generated electricty via France and Spain from N Africa - which only works if we (a) can trust the N Africans, (b) can trust the French, and (c) can build the necessary transmission infrastructure at a reasonable cost.

Nuclear is the best bet in the next decade or two, and with luck we will have fusion power sorted reasonably soon if the lunatics running things don't remove all funding for research in order to pay for wind turbine nonsense.

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New account of Flight 447 disaster published

Arthur Dent

@I_am_Chris

I think you are wrong - putain is not very strong. I don't know about prime time TV, but I remember hearing two of Brassen's songs that used it (it occurs in the chorus of "Putain de toi" and in the last verse of "La complainte des filles de joie") about half a century ago on prime time radio in France (while his "Fernande" was banned from radio because the chorus contained "je bande" and "la bandaison papa ça n'se commande pas" - that use of bander/bandaison was thought to be a bit too much). Best translation I can think of for putain in a phrase like "putain de toi" is "you tramp", or for "putain" on its own "oh damn". The dictionary I use on the rare occassions when I need a French disctionary gives it as "putain: exclamation exprimant la surprise; (grossièrement) prostituée" so I guess its use as an exclamation is not regarded as grossière.

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Patchy app development security slammed

Arthur Dent

@AC 8th December 2011 23:01

<quote>It's not exactly tricky is it? Sanitize your inputs, use an ORM to build your queries rather than generating SQL queries by hand, or at the very least use a DB abstraction layer to perform parametrized queries.</quote>

No, don't use an ORM - work out what functionality the app needs from the database and provide that functionality as a set of stored procedures. Using an ORM generates a strong coupling between the database schema and the apps object model, throwing away any chance of true modularity. Using stored procedures for the interface decouples the schema from the application, the application doesn't even have to know what tables and views exist, just what procedures it can call (that's also why you don't use parametrised queries instead of stored procedures). This makes maintenance and future enhancement much less error prone, and is perfectly secure against injection unless you have a lunatic database developer who commits the crime of using a string parameter from outside to construct sql text to be executed. Verify all inputs in the app too of course - and even if you have client side input verification do it again server side, because it's easy for me to write a malicious browser that modifies your client-side Javascript or VBScript or whatever it is you use and sends you whaever inputs I want without their ever having been seen by your client-side validation. And normalise the database schema at least as far as EKNF, preferably to 5NF with possibly some tables left at EKNF to preserve the representation principle, since that too makes maintenance easier (by making the schemas keys and constraints enforce conformance of the data to all business rules that are expressible in the unnormalised schema as domain constraints, functional dependencies, multivalued dependencies, or projection-join dependencies, so that a large class of bugs can never occur. And finally, make sure that the apps connection to the database uses a user (preferably an OS user, but a database user will do at a push) whose only permitted actions in the database are executing the stored procedures provided for the app, has no access to tables or views at all (the stored procedures should have permissions inherited from their authors, instead of from the app, so they can access and update the data; but the app can't do that except by calling the stored procedure, even if some rogue developer tries to stick some ad hoc queries into the app). And encrypt your database backups, using keys that change when they need to rather than stay for ever the same, and encrypt your database too (only change that key if you think there's a risk it is compromised, as it's a pain in the but to do). Of course if your physical security is such that you can guarantee no-one can steal a hard disc, or intercept traffic between you server and your SAN, or get hold of a discarded hard disc with either the database or backups on it, or if the risk is low, the potential damage if the risk is realised is also low and the extra software licensing cost of having database encryption is too high (you won't get it with a MS SQLS Standard Edition license, for example, you need an Enterprise license) you can maybe skip the encryption.

So, maybe not quite a simple as you suggested; but every competent DB developer knows that those are the things that should be done, and none of those things is the least bit complex or difficult, so almost that easy.

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Global warming much less serious than thought - new science

Arthur Dent
WTF?

@Goat Jam

"The East German FDR" ?????????

The FDR was (from 1949 to 1990) the WEST German Federal Republic, and the German Federal Republic is now the whole united Germany.

If you really think that the FDR was teh East German DDR then your dislike of the IPCC suggests that teh IPCC may not be quite as incompetent as I previously thought.

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Adventures in mineral oil cooling

Arthur Dent

@spodula

Yeah, Austin is the Glasgow of the USA.

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Salman Rushdie hissy-fit forces Facebook name U-turn

Arthur Dent

@oddie - yup, doubt.....

You are obviosly so completely bound by some North American Anglo-Saxon concept of how names work that you are not aware that some parts of the rest of the world have different conventions.

IN Scotland, we used to suffer badly from this: during teh 19th and most of teh 20th centuries the dominant English speakers provideed all the registrars of births, and they refused to record Gaelic names. So the parent's of someone whose name was Seumas Dhomhuill Mac a' Phi would be asked what the hell that meant, and when they replied "it's the Gaelic form of Donald's James Mac a Fee" the name would be registered as "Donald James MacAfee". So the patronymic is first, the personal name is second, and the family name is third (and all three names are completely screwed up, but that's not the point - the point is the re-ordering caused by different for order of nouns in genetive grammatical relationships).

Think of it this way: to many cultures the natural order of the names, when translated to English, is <father's name><my name><family name>; the second term in that string is the only real name, all the rest is just explaining which one of the people who use that real name you are.

I understand this because I suffer from it personally; and I suffer from the lunatic idea of translating names in the first place too: notice how the personal name in the above (which, incidentally, has no connection with me) changed from Seumas (which would be "Sheumais", which you probably know as "Hamish", in the vocative case) to James. If all your friends and family and neighbours call you "Hamish" how do you react when some total stranger starts calling you "Donald" instead, and would "James" be much better? One of my pet complaints about speakers (especially USAian ones) of English is how they don't understand that other cultures have other conventins and certainly don't understand that names are declined by grammatical case in many languages.

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Ballmer shoots down Microsoft breakup advice

Arthur Dent
Facepalm

Re Problem is ...

AC 12:52..."It ignores the $14bn that was poured into it to kick it off.

Microsoft are very clever at hiding losses, so when people link to a single quarters earnings, it doesn't show the full story."

Lets see now, that's an investment which is returning a current profit of $1.6bn per quarter on that original $14bn. I make that a return of about 45%pa before taxes, and even on a discounted cash flow basis it's going to be well over 35%. If they scrapped that they would be demonstrating gross economic incompetence.

I never am able to understand why, when a some of projects are successful and are making a good return, there is always some one who will say "those projects ought tyo be scrapped because they cost too much to develop" - presumably because they are too stupid to realise that scrapping something that is earning a lot more than it is currently costing is the sure way to guarantee making the last possible profit (or the greatest possible loss if the development costs haven't already been recouped).

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Happy 40th birthday, Intel 4004!

Arthur Dent
Boffin

Not the first

So Intel's public relations people are still perpetuating the myth.

The AL1 was the best part of a year before Intel's 4004 (it was in use by customers months before the 4004 was first announced) and needed no more support chips than the 4004 did, so it's hard to see how the 4004 could be considered the first.

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EU: Check out our huge JavaScript appendage

Arthur Dent
Boffin

@Unlimited

"The language does matter when it's a prototype based, classless, dynamically typed abomination."

At least if it's that it's probably 100% safer than C++.

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Blow for McKinnon as extradition treaty ruled 'not biased'

Arthur Dent
Unhappy

Re: American justice eh?

American justice is (despite all the court-room dramas that suggest such a thing exists) is an oxymoron.

Anyway, the claim than McKinnon's access to US military computers caused great costs (which include all the costs of securing systems which ought to have been secured in the first place) is pure nonsense, and any attempt to use those false numbers to justify a higher sentence is clearly injustice. The fact that the American authorities requiring this extradition have clearly stated there intent to so misuse these dishonest numbers ought to be enough to ensure that our government determines that this extradition will not take place. I'm appalled that it hasn't done so already.

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Hundreds of Mr A N OTHERs discovered on payrolls

Arthur Dent
Facepalm

@Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

<quote>all the other Salami slicing frauds use computers as part of the system but are dependant on having a computer to do it, i.e. the fraud could just as easily be performed using a manual system.</quote>

Insanity strikes again.

What on earth can Herr Krakenfart be on?

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Chaos feared after Unix time-zone database is nuked

Arthur Dent
FAIL

@Rob Crawford

Anyone who thinks a mutton is a half space clearly hasn't a clue about typography. Sometimes a nut (half a mutton) is called a half space, but a mutton is never called a half-space.

Is the rest of your twaddle as inaccurate as your assertion that "em" means half space?

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Who the hell cares about five nines anymore?

Arthur Dent
Flame

Re: Nuclear reactors work with TWELVE zeroes safety...

"I expect some downvotes here from whom didn't really understand the examples..."

I was appalled to see you hadn't collected a great big heap of downvotes. Do you think that 1e-12 is the chance that the PWR is broken out of the box, or something like that? I can't account for your conclusion any other way and, as the poster next after you pointed out, even that insane assumption wouldn't actually lead to your conclusion.

I wish the mnathematically/statistically illiterate would stop posting nonsensense about probability and other fields of maths.

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'Major' C++ revision receives standards blessing

Arthur Dent

@nyelvmark

"I remember reading Stroustrup's book back in 1992. I kept finding things which made me think "OK, but why would you want to do such a thing?", and "What happened to the KISS* principle?".

Bjarne was carefully following his veresoin of the KISS principle. Tht's the one where KISS stands for "Keep It Stupid, Silly".

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Apple sues NYC mom & pop shops

Arthur Dent
Meh

re To be fair ... @CD001

You are displaying hopeless ignorance about history there. The Act of Union (1707) has no relevance whatsover to whether there are Kings of England or not, since it created only a union of parliaments. The two countries had shared their Kings (apart from eleven years and a couple of months from 1649 to 1660, when Scotland had a King but England still had a Dictator instead) since James VI of Scotland added the English throne to his throne collection after 35 years and 8 months of being King of Scotland alone. England still had a King (James I, King of England) and Scotland still had a King (James VI, King of Scots), both being the same person despite the difference in numbers. It's just like today: Scotland has a Queen, and England has a Queen; they happen to be the same person.

As for England not really having Kings since about 1650, that is just pure nonsense. Charles II of Scotland (who added the throne of England to his throne collection early in the 12th year of his reign as King of Scotland) was very much a real King of England, probably the best King of England since Richard III. William of Orange and the early Hanoverian Georges were all rather powerful Kings of England (the early Georges had abandoned all pretence of being Kings of Scots, as opposed to Scotland being an appendage of their English Empire, almost wrecking the Union despite several attempts of the Union parliament to require a rational policy in Scotland). Probably the first English monarch who was not a "real King" was Victoria, and she wasn't a "real Queen" because she allowed the royal prerogative to become a venerated but never observed tradition instead of something which had real and effective consequences. Her grandfather's intransigence had destroyed one attempt to obtain a rational resollution of the status of Ireland, and bothe her uncle and her father had excercised a degree of control over parliament during their (brief) reigns - but she excercised no such control. So perhaps we can date ENgland's loss of any "real King" (if, as I think, by that you mean a monarch with real effetive power) to 1837, rather than to 1650 or 1707 as you suggested.

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Arthur Dent

Seen to be done???

The judge ordered "that all documents remain under seal with access only to counsel for the parties and the court."

Whatever happened to the old-fashioned common law idea that justice must be seen to be done? This looks even worse than the loony "superinjunctions" that have provoked such a fuss in the UK, but it seems to have gone by without notice in the USA.

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12% of UK don't carry cash

Arthur Dent

re:re:ATM Skimmers

quote: "Unfortunately, if we did that, UK cards wouldn't work in the US."

Don't blame the Americans - nor would they work in ATMs in much of Europe. My Euro debit card (on my Spanish bank account) has a word mag stripe, so I can't use it in most ATM's in Europe (that includes Spain - I'm not even sure that a damaged mag stripe lets a C&P card work in UK ATMs, there used to be something silly about reading the stripe to discover whether the card is C&P) until I get the bank to replace the card - which I have to collect from the bank branch in person (which seems a bit more secure than the setup for my UK debit card) which means I can't use it to get cash until I get back near where I'm based in winter - but I don't get problems in shops and restaurants if I want to use it, nor in car hire places, because they all disregard and connect to the chip.

So I think it's going to be a very long time before we can drop that mag stripe regardless of what the US does. We need the banks in countries where everyone but the banks uses the chip-and-pin capabilities of the cards to use those capabilities too. Somehow I doubt if banks in Greece will be able to afford new ATM tech any time soon.

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Arthur Dent
WTF?

@Bluenose re: except

"Have you tried to buy an airline ticket, car, theatre or concert tickets or any one of a host of other items with cash. Probably not because you would realise that its rarely possible to do it."

Airline ticket: yes, tried and succeeded several times (but usually use a card)

Car: yes, tried and succeeded several times (but more often write cheque; used card just once)

concert tickets:yes, cash works fine for more than 50% of the concerts I go to

theatre tickets: yes, cash works fine for more than 50% of my theatre visits.

host of other items: well, I don't buy my fixed line phone service, my internet access, my electricity, my domestic gas, my life assurance, my tv license, my water rates, or my council rates with cash - direct debit is much more convenient; but cards are pretty useless for any of those. And I don't do internet shopping with cash (it would be difficult), and tend to do car insurance, car tax, tv licence with cards. When I was paying into a private pension fund, I did that by direct debit for regular payments and used a card only for one-off payments. Tube tickets - used a card for Oyster automatic topup; train tickets - cash or card depending on how much.

Apart from internet shopping, my main uses of card are paying for restaurant, meals, restocking the booze cupboard, and supermarket shopping if I'm buying a lot, and car hire when not in the UK (where my car lives).

"rarely possible"??? Rubbish, all the things you named can easily be bought with cash.

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Oops! Ofcom's DCMS's own blocking easily visible to world+dog

Arthur Dent

Re: Nice try

The link doesn't work in Firefox 5.0 with Noscript 2.1.1.1. and HTPS Everywhere 0.9.7.

It works fine in IE 8.0.6001.18702. So not too late, just wrong tool.

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Isolated human genes can be patented, US court rules

Arthur Dent

One of three had it right

Looks as if just one out of the three appeal judges had a clue. Bryson thought the process claims OK, and the vastly wide DNA claims nonsense. Seems about right to me (although he seemed a bit soft on some of the DNA claims).

Let's hope that the next court up the chain prefers his position to the nonsense promoted bythe other two judges.

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