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* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

372 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Slurp rates

Yes, ULF must be little better than hand driven Morse code.

Even ultrasound, which makes far more sense in the ocean, yields only kilobits per second.

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Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway

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Re: The discs last 1000 years

Of course a DVD reader built today will not be around in a workable state after 1000 years. But the disk could be analysed and a new reader built.

Some time back I read an article about an optical reader that could follow the track on an old (pre-vinyl) gramophone record and reproduce the music minus most of the background noise.

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Re: 1000 years?

As for "thousand year thingies", there are several western examples such as England, Iceland, Switzerland. In the orient there are China and Japan.

Apols to any I have omitted.

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Was Earth once covered in HELLFIRE? No – more like a wet Sunday night in Iceland

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Early civilizations and dinosaurs

We are told these days that at least some of the dinosaurs were smarter than the average lizard. So I have wondered whether they ever got as far a stone age, or even putting up buildings.

But there is no fossilised reinforced concrete in mesozoic rocks, nor even pottery fragments. So probably they didn't.

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New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone

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Re: Great Scott!

Totally agree.

Typical Reg article, 3 megabytes of ads and promotional meterial, to deliver about 5 kilobytes of text. Typical MSM(*) piece, 8 megabytes for 5KB.

(*)No names, no libel threats.

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Boffins: Searching for ALIENS is like looking for PIZZA among students

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I heard stories of students' cats that grew very large on a diet of curry and chips. Saw some of them, too.

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Re: Life ...

My physics lecturers spoke of "dissipative systems", that relied on a flow of energy.

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Re: Hmmmm.

Apart from the intergalactic cock-up when they left a signal running for almost a minute, picked up by one of our ET search projects.

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Re: But even his theory...

"Lets start with a life form which doesn't require oxygen".

As on Earth for the first billion years or so. But acetic acid -> methane + carbon dioxode is a useful source of thermodynamic free energy.

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Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

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Re: They are making profits of over £100m...

Other reports suggest that Phones4u was owned by a bunch of hedgies. Those vultures (no, not you, Reg!) issued bonds for a lot of money, took the money for themselves, and left the company to repay the bonds out of future earnings. The interest payments on those bonds killed the company.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

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Arts graduate nonsense

"Smart meters" are another piece of stupidity foisted upon us by innumerate and unscientific arts graduates. Stuff them!

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Intel's SECRET Xeons: tell us what you think Chipzilla's hiding

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Software Resistant

Software resistant version: runs the same Intel/Windows/NSA software (with the same bugs/features) no matter what version of Linux/BSD/Other you try and load.

Great for standards compliance!

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Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

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Sauce for the goose

How about an FOI request against Privacy International? Who are they? What are they really trying to achieve? Have they made similar requests of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran ...?

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Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

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Re: You get what you pay for

@Phuzz

"...VM, not great, but not so bad...". Yes, I agree. Nowhere near "five-nines" reliability, struggling indeed to reach "two-nines". Virgin email not allowing me to receive email one day last week, and also yesterday afternoon.

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Use home networking kit? DDoS bot is BACK... and it has EVOLVED

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Cars and computers

For all I know there is a hard-wired password in my car that will make it engage reverse gear on the motorway. But I am not an expert on cars.

Equally, the vast majority of computers and routers are sold to non-experts.

In Britain the Trades Description Act requires that items sold retail be "basically fit for purpose". Whether a weak password breaks that law is debatable.

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Europe's Google wrangle: PLEASE, DOMINANT Mr Schmidt? More?

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Re: The unfairness goes much deeper

@Trevor

Google or Microsoft: not an easy decision, and I respectfully wish to disagree with you.

At least Microsoft are selling a product, software; whereas Google are selling our souls.

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'Everywhere I look ... it's bad': HP claims email shows Autonomy CFO panic, pre-buyout

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What a mess

Some of us have opinions about Mr Lynch that are full of doubts, but the other lot appeared to be beancounters led by a b*llsh*tt*r (subsequently replaced). Perhaps the lawyers deserve all the money more than the contestants.

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Warrantless phone snooping HAPPENS ALL THE TIME in Blighty

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Re: IF YOU CAN MAKE A 'CITIZENS ARREST'....

Perhaps. But not on mere suspicion, you would have to already have proof of whatever you are trying to prove.

You can be sued if you make a citizen's arrest of an innocent man, but the police cannot be sued if They believe there was genuine reason to suspect the arrestee.

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Re: Whistleblowers?

Agreed absolutely!

The whole article reads like a disgraceful piece of special pleading by a journalist, far more reprehensible than any ordinary act of politics.

And in reply to a different previous comment, have you seen a political party reverse what the other lot did? Definitely. (1) I worked for an aerospace company that had been denationalised, and was subsequently renationalised and then unrenationalised. (2) Harold Wilson's 70s government reversed the trade union reforms of Edward Heath.

Finally, this article is nothing new. Even in the days of snail mail, metadata - who was receiving what kind of letter - could be collected if the authorities wished. The fuss about Snowden is about metadata (unless you believe They are blatantly lying).

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Go on, corporate drone, log in... We'd recognise your VEINS anywhere – Barclays

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Voice recognition

Re the last paragraph about voice recognition technology.

Once upon a time banks employed staff who knew their customers. But that was before the hoi polloi had bank accounts.

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NATO nations 'will respond to a Cyber attack on one as though it were on all'

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But if we attack THEM

I am wondering whether, if we launched a cyber attack on our enemies, it would succeed. Have there been any trial runs, I wonder? (Disguised as accidents.)

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NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails

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@JI

Agreed! Dreadful sub-editing in this article.

Who is Slater?

Who is Fairfax?

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

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Re: Budgetary crazyness

You have to be ruthless or the conniving bastards will screw you out of every penny and more. At least, that's the way it works with ordinary folk as opposed to saints.

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

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Re: "The basis of this article is laughable"

@gc73, AMBxx,

But it is not always you who does the buying. When the bean counters buy it...

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Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws

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@kmac499

The spelling in that notice, as quoted, does not inspire confidence.

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Re: Not surprising

I believe some C compilers have an option to include bounds checking. (It is a long time since I wrote C; the nearest I get to programming these days is a spreadsheet.)

Unfortunately there are always some people who want to optimise the hell out of the program. That is so rarely needed these days, with the hardware so much better and indeed the compilers; but old ideas never die, they just fade away.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

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Look at the BIOS

On another thread recently, I asked how does malware sense that it is running on an emulator? Another reader answered that the BIOS usually looks different.

So if this universe we are in is a simulation, where is the equivalent of the BIOS?

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Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE

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The Great Firewall

The Chinese have strong ideas about how the hoi polloi should use the Internet.

So do, for example Turkey, Iran, Pakistan; usually at the instigation of religious institutions that claim authority..

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Researcher details how malware gives AV the slip

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Virtual question

How do you detect that you are running on a virtual machine?

Is it, for example, some difference in the networking when closely examined?

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

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Re: Not the first one …

He was complaining, wittily I grant you, that Word at that time did not have "smart quotes" or a word count. Both are long since fixed.

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Re: Some text editor fanboi war this is...

My first document editor was DEC's EDT. It had a 'word wrap' feature so you could get a paragraph looking nice again after you had hacked it about. OK, you had to do that manually, but nothing else at that time (ca 1980) would do that except a dedicated word processor box.

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Re: Not WYSIWYG

But Word has Themes.

A style is a set of attributes (font, size, colour, etc) for a specific type of text such as body text or caption or whatever. A theme is a related set of styles for all the components of a document: body text, various header levels, etc.

So in Word you can use a default or a chosen theme, and mark headers, captions, etc as if you were writing html or Latex. Someone else can change the theme, and the appearance of the document is changed at a stroke. That is, if the author has used themes and styles properly.

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@d3rrial

I worked for a company that used Latex for its documents, partly because of its ability to handle mathematical stuff. But the Latex whizzkids in the company kept changing the header files we used, which meant that old documents could no longer be edited or reprinted.

There is an arguable case for using L/M/O Office and saving documents in html - thus avoiding page format issues. Minor edits are then possible even with vi, or by hand-punching extra holes on paper tape.

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Re: Personally ...

@Adrian4

For producing simple narrative text, Notepad will do; or Geany/Kedit on Linux machines.

But for a complex technical document with tables, illustrations, and captions, you may not have the time to faff around trying to remember the Latex directives. So it is Libre Office or Word. Also, I need the spell check: not because I can't spell, but because I can't type (to a professional standard).

I like using One Note for first drafts.

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Renegade NSA, GCHQ spies help fix Tor vulns, claims project boss

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Re: Cynical, moi aussi

Just what I was thinking.

Our side leak the ones they think the other side are using. But what do the other side get up to?

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New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes

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Re: Be a pleb

I was, of course, referring to the vast majority of installations (including my own) which run Windows. I am typing this as a pleb user on my own machine set up by me. Some of my relatives have been caught by viruses because they were running as administrator.

XP was notorious for in-house applications that were sloppily written and would not run properly except as administrator.

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Be a pleb

It is much harder to corrupt the hosts file if you are running as an unprivileged user.

There again, if you need admin privilege to run a poorly-written work application, perhaps you should not surf during work time.

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The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The WEEKEND

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Seriously, though, they are doing ...

I have doubts about this weekend publishing idea.

The market niche of the Reg is computer trade press plus science and technical reports, all for technically qualified readers who tire of the dumbing down in the mainstream press and TV. Although the tech reporting has lost some of its sharpness in the last year or so.

The weekend will be different, and you will be competing with many other competent sources. Looks like a way of losing money.

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It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

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Re: Not saying PGP is perfect

Lo! They met in Llandudno!

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

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Re: You're password has expired, please change it

I did that at one place I worked. Not with 'Password', though. More like 'Fred'.

Why pick on Fred? Look where the letters are on a US/UK keybooard.

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Re: @J.G.Harston and spelling

I remember a work account used by a small group. After the password was set to 'pterodactyl' the non-spellers objected. These people were graduate engineers.

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Pop-up ad man: SORRY we made such a 'hated tool', netizens

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Who else is gonna pay?

So Zuckerman regrets that the Internet is run by advertisers for advertisers.

But tha'ts how TV in most of the world is run.

Maybe one day we shall all have to pay an Internet licence/license fee to the NSA. Not that that will stop the rubbish adverts, of course.

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Hackers' Paradise: The rise of soft options and the demise of hard choices

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Before IBM PC

Before the IBM PC there were Word Processors (*): dedicated machines, not generally programmable, running on 8-bit processors with crude and simplified MMUs. So there was no obvious need for user login, file protections, and of course the many pitfalls of networking.

As the author implies, it was that tradition that the IBM PC inherited.

But what do we do now? As others above remark, the article kind of fades away into nothing.

It seems fair to say that VMS and Unix sorted out most of the basic issues for single machines. What have never been properly resolved are the many issues in large scale networking. I remember seeing claims in the early days of the Arpanet that much research on network principles and details was being done. That all seemed to come to a halt after IPv4.

(*)There were also the dedicated calculator/plotter machines found in many labs, mostly made by HP.

PS VMS could be hacked if the machine minders had not amended certain system accounts intended for maintenance and testing. I speak at first hand.

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Totes AMAZEBALLS! Side boob, binge-watch and clickbait added to Oxford Dictionary

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Re: Each year we get the 'new words' announcement...

The full OED don't get rid of nuffink. Every word used a few times since 1185, and the cat sat on the mat long before that.

The Concise OED does prune things, however. I have a 1965 edition with words that were not republished in 1992.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

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lies, damned lies, and ...

As a right-thinking man politically (blue collar, not blue blood) I support Worstall's preference for a free economy.

But as a techie with a physics degree, I claim his arguments are mistaken. Sure, there are 60 million or more individuals in the UK, but one group of a thousand individuals is very much like another such group. That is the science of statistics, which recognises what people have in common as opposed to what differences they have.

So a planned economy will be driven by statistics. For example, there are some 600,000 births per year in the UK. Of these, some 100,000 will have an IQ greater than 115 (i.e. above average by more than one standard deviation), and therefore ought to be receiving a grammar school education. If each grammar school admits about 100 pupils per year, as mine did, we need 1000 grammar schools. We currently have about 150.

This is the kind of issue where central planning can help It does not deal with 60 million individual cases but with a manageable number of statistics.

So, try again Tim!

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

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Re: We need IP6

@Mage and ...

IPv4 is in retrospect a work of genius. It has been running for over 30 years, compared with about 10 years for the original Arpanet protocol.

IPv5 and IPv6 look like student project designs in comparison. What was IPv5? A long-forgotten attempt to make multi-casting efficient, so that for example lectures could be distributed to students - or other one-to-many applications.

Will IPv6 be forgetten? I hope so, we need an IPv7 that is backward compatible with IPv4, as others have commented here.

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DIME for your TOP SECRET thoughts? Son of Snowden's crypto-chatter client here soon

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Re: 4 point type

4-point type is a doddle.

The magnifying glass version of the Oxford English Dictionary is printed in 2-point type.

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

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Re: Cut of Russia from the Internet

@javapapa

The logic of these comments would be to have separate internets, rather than one size fits all. But do it by topic rather than by country. E.g.

1. Cat videos

2. Advertisements

3. Emails

...

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UK.gov wants public sector to rip up data protection law

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Local sharing only

From the comments above, it seems that there is a case for sharing information about social care, which is handled at county council or lower level. But only if shared at county or lower level.

I recently got a new driving licence to celebrate the big 7-0. With my permission, they used my passport photo, thus saving me the bother of a trip to a photo booth. But I don't want them snooping without my permission at my electricity bills, internet usage, or whatever. Other people, subject to warrant, I don't mind. So the principle for central governement should be permission (explicit, informed, etc.) or warrant.

For health matters, social trends, etc: aggregated data, yes; "anonymised" data no. And not to any civil servant unless they show that they know the difference between these. Not many PPE graduates, then.

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Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS

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Re: Legacy only

@macrorodent re file types

Yes, the file types distinguished the men from the boys in VMS (and RSX11) programming.

1. The major distinction between serial, sequential, and indexed files.

2. Within serial files, the distinction between

a. first byte is a counter of those remaining in that record.

b. first two bytes represent a line number. This could increment by more than 1, eg for Basic line numbering, and later lines could be inserted or deleted.

c. CRLF files, where embedded CRLF characters are line separators.

3. Then they had various magentiic tape formats: FLX, something they said was ISO, and finally their VMS Backup formats.

I saw many mistakes made by novice programmers unfamiliar with those file types.

In unix, of course, a file is a blank sheet to be defiled at will.

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