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* Posts by Phil Endecott

359 posts • joined 29 Nov 2006

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The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

Phil Endecott

Re: Also there is apparently no law against

It's called "procurement of a woman by false pretences"

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/4-5/69

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Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it

Phil Endecott

Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

> Not a lot of time to make your mind up :(

Read "The Dead Hand" by David E Hoffman. The Soviet military were concerned that their political leaders would be too slow to make a retaliatory decision, so they built a "dead hand" system that would automatically launch their missiles if they didn't get a command not to do so.

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Spanish struggle to control spelling of 'WhatsApp'

Phil Endecott

Re: Indeed that's a complex matter

> There are some words like "arma" (weapon) that has one gender

> in singular and another in plural ("el arma" is male, "las armas" is

> female),

Or agua. But no, it's always feminine; it is always "el agua fria", not "el agua frio". It is just el/la that changes, to avoid the awkward a-a. The equivalent in french is changing le or la to l' when the noun starts with a vowel.

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USB charger is prime suspect in death of Australian woman

Phil Endecott

"Insulation on the pins of the plug" - are they suggesting that this was an issue in this case? I thought that was required just to prevent you from electrocuting yourself by poking a knife between the plug and the socket.

Re "reputable suppliers" - we don't know quite how disreputable the supplier of this product was, yet. My suspicion is that the chances of crap junk are similar in the bottom and middle of the market. We can't expect everyone to buy their battery chargers from John Lewis.

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It's a Doddle: Amazon inks train station parcel deal with Network Rail

Phil Endecott

RAILWAY STATION

It's RAILWAY STATION, not TRAIN STATION, you ignorant people.

</rant>

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People will happily run malware if paid ONE CENT – new study

Phil Endecott

Thus was done on Mechanical Turk. I think it's a bit of a jump to claim that people who use mechanical turk are representative of the rest of us.

They would also have an expectation that Amazon would not allow malware on the Turk platform.

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YouView loses YourView trademark fight, may have to pick new name

Phil Endecott

I always wondered what YouTube think of the YouView name. I.e.isn't YouView a way to view YouTube vids on your TV?

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Apple: REIGN OF FIRE coming to Europe courtesy of old iPhone chargers

Phil Endecott

Dear Apple,

Please use a FONT and COLOUR for this model number that I CAN ACTUALLY READ without needing a MICROSCOPE.

Thank you.

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IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

Phil Endecott

BT

Am I right in thinking that I still can't do IPv6 over my BT home broadband connection, without using some sort of tunnel?

Come on people, sort it out already!

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AWS breaks silence over Truecrypt's role in data import/export

Phil Endecott

> I wasn't aware AWS were using TrueCrypt.

It's offered as an option when you import/export from/to physical media that you ship to them. That's all.

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'CAPTAIN CYBORG': The wild-eyed prof behind 'machines have become human' claims

Phil Endecott

Having read the transcripts of the conversations with the bot, it seems extraordinary that anyone could imagine they were human. But what I've not seen are the transcripts with the real 13 year old Ukranian with which they must have been compared. Right? Oh, hang on. Hmmm. Yeah, so i guess perhaps there wasn't a "control" human at all, making the "experiment" entirely useless.

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Fed-up bloke takes email spammers to court – and WINS PILE of CASH

Phil Endecott

Re: Its spam but ...

> 99% of my spam is not from legit companies like John Lewis

That used to be the case for me, but it has changed over the last few years. Now, after filtering, the spam that gets to my inbox is primarily from "legitimate" companies that I have done business with in the (distant) past and who have at some point "forgotten" that I didn't want to be spammed. I'm unlikely to sue them, but there is no chance that they will ever get any business from me in the future.

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128-bit crypto scheme allegedly cracked in two hours

Phil Endecott

Re: 94.6 bits

> How on earth can you have .6 of a bit?

Well, for example, one decimal digit stores log2(10) = 3.322 bits of information.

So you could say that a 10-digit decimal number is "33.22 bits".

Look up "Arithmetic Coding" for one practical application of fractional bits.

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Stock and awe: Top City biz takes £32m hit after software upgrade axed

Phil Endecott
Pint

Brewin Dolphin is one of the UK’s largest private investment companies

Sounds more like a pub chain to me.

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Traffic light vulns leave doors wide open to Italian Job-style hacks

Phil Endecott

Re: Hack away you can't do worse than Bristol City Council

> One journey a little while ago of around 2 -3 miles I passed through

> 24 sets of traffic lights and stopped at 22 of them

Was that journey on foot, by bike, or in a bus?

Or some other means of transport?

Did you notice whether the timings might have been chosen to better suit some other type of road user?

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Australian government apps access smartmobe cams but 'don't film you'

Phil Endecott

There is a lot to be said for asking the user for permission at the time when the app first wants to use the feature, rather that doing it all up-front. If you go to the (fictional) "send photo of rash to doctor" page, you'll understandwhy it now asks for permission to use the camera. A second best would be to let the user be selective about those permissions at the time of installation. As it is, the user will just click whatever they have to click in order to start using the app.

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Today's bugs have BRANDS? Be still my bleeding heart [logo]

Phil Endecott

Re: @ AndrueC

> Good old K&R C is still doing the grunt-work

Blimey, no. I haven't seen K&R C for decades. I suspect most C programmers don't even know the syntax. Where are you seeing it?

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WD unborks MYSTERY My Cloud borkage

Phil Endecott

> And This Is why I like my hard-drives physical.

This product IS a physical hard drive.

It's a physical hard drive that you keep at home, that comes with some sort of remote access feature so that you can also access it over the 'net. This remote access relies on WD servers to function.

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VAT's all folks: Telecoms and services tax to be set at consumer's homeland rate

Phil Endecott

Re: Please extend this

> physical goods delivered to the consumer

VAT has been applied at the rate in the customer's country for physical products for many years now.

The stupidity you refer to is related to corporation tax, not VAT.

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Phil Endecott

Re: What has the EU been smoking?

> As a proportion of income, the poor pay many times in VAT what the rich do

"Many times" is a bit of an exaggeration; try "twice as much". See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15519727 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12111507 . The latter article makes the interesting observation that defining the poor as those with low incomes includes wealthy people loving off their savings, which skews this particular analysis.

For examples of really regressive taxes, look at national insurance and the council tax.

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'Bank couriers' who stole money from OAP cancer sufferer jailed

Phil Endecott

Re: vs the 'Microsoft' tech support guy...

> Out of curiosity do you have a link to anything about this "Microsoft" tech guy?

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2014/03/31/phone_scam_operator_fined/

(Curious about the thumbs-down. Does someone really think it's worse to phone people up and tell them to give their cards and PINs to a "courier" than it is to run a call center that phones people up to tell them that that have a virus and to charge them money to remove it?)

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Phil Endecott

vs the 'Microsoft' tech support guy...

...who got a fine. And he was operating a whole bloody call centre full of people conducting his scam.

(Interesting about the staying-on-the-line aspect though. I wonder if they attempted to hum a dialing tone.)

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Boffins make noise about D-Wave chip: it seems quantum

Phil Endecott

Re: I don't get it.

On average, it clearly solves problems faster than a "brute force" search would.

But there are better non-quantum methods than brute force, e.g. simulated annealing. It is not clear whether this machine is faster than non-quantum annealing. This is hard to measure because both classical annealing and the quantum mechanism have randomness.

Another complicating factor is that the device is small, so everything is fast. The differences would be much more obvious in a machine that could handle larger problems.

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

Phil Endecott

Cost of doing business

He's been doing this since (at least) 2010. He has to pay a total of about £24,000, which works out at about £15 per day over 4 those years.

I'd say that he will write this off as a "cost of doing business", and continue to put aside a modest percentage of his income to cover any future fines.

But he'll keep his head down for the next year, to avoid any chance of that suspended sentence getting activated.

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Google slashes cloud storage to $0.026 per GB. Your move, Amazon

Phil Endecott

Mobility

How easily can users move between e.g. Amazon and Google services?

Unless that "friction" is low, people will tend to stick with what they have despite the lower prices elsewhere.

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Takeaway order spewer Just Eat plans to raise £100 MEEELLION in IPO

Phil Endecott

Re: No British food

What could be more British than Indian food?

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Academic blames US for tech titans' tax dodge

Phil Endecott

> Is the distinguished academic saying that the US government waterboards the

> Australian and Irish legislative bodies (and the Chinese Communist Party?!?!?)

> to provide convenient tax structure to American multinationals

No. What the US government did was change the law in 1997, prior to which this revenue would have been subject to tax in the US.

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Top UK e-commerce sites fail to protect 'password' password-havers from selves

Phil Endecott

Re: Locking out does not "deny" service

> locking someone out for 60 seconds is not a serious denial of service

But you can extend it indefinitely by repeating the attack. So the genuine user might get a 1-second window when they can log in each minute.

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Phil Endecott

The disadvantage of "locking out" users who enter many wrong passwords is that this can be used to deny them service.

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Apple Safari, Mail and more hit by SSL spying bug on OS X, fix 'soon'

Phil Endecott

Re: Test-Driven Development

Although i would not expect a compiler to warn about unreachable code there (or only to do so in a mode that also resulted in many false positives), i would expect both static analysis tools (coverity) and code coverage tools to report a problem. Although i wouldn't expect such tools to be used on all code, i would expect that an SSL implementation would be exactly where you apply them first.

I would also love to see a lint-like tool that would spot the wrong indentation.

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Phil Endecott

Re: This doesn't make sense

No not hours - the CVE number was reserved early in January.

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Computer expert and broadcaster Ian McNaught-Davis dies at 84

Phil Endecott

Re: The Old Man Of Hoy

Yes, the Old Man of Hoy documentary is well worth watching - they took £200,000 worth (in 1967 prices) of outside broadcast kit by boat from Glasgow to Hoy, landed on the beach and dragged it up the hill on sledges. Epic stuff. Reminds me a bit of the moon landings.

I remember Mac as the presenter of The Micro Programme when I was in my early teens, and later discovered that someone "with the same name" was a famous mountaineer and president of the International Union of Alpinist Organisations (UIAA). It was astonishing to eventually discover that he was one and the same.

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Hands up if you have one good reason to port enterprise apps to ARM

Phil Endecott

> my motherboard is in the post.

Well I hope it works out OK. How much did it cost?

If they ask for feedback, tell them that putting actual photos of the board and actual prices on their website would make it look much more believable.

(Not my downvote BTW)

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Phil Endecott

>, there does seem to be one ARM offering that is head and

> shoulders above the rest in terms of standards compliance

>. Best of all - you can buy one _today_. Google cornfed

> servers and you should be able to find it.

Looks a bit vapourware to me. Have you actually seen one? The website just shows a mini-ITX case and has a "contact us" web form.

FWIW, at this point I think it is probably worth waiting for ARMv8 (64 bit) devices. The future AMD offering may be the best bet.

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CERN outlines plan for new 100km circumference supercollider

Phil Endecott

Re: Is the overlap of the rings part of the plan?

The current LHC uses a smaller ring to pre-accellerate the particles before they are injected into the main LHC ring (search for "LHC map" for the layout, including "track junctions"). So I guess that the existing LHC tunnels will indeed be reused as the first stage of the possible new system.

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Elite Systems pulls ZX Spectrum games after deluge of 'unpaid royalties' complaints

Phil Endecott

Re: WHo exactly is claiming the royalties?

> I can't believe bedroom coders from that era would bother trying to get

> a few quid for 30 year old games

Why on earth not?

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The TRUTH about LEAKY, STALKING, SPYING smartphone applications

Phil Endecott

> a separate study by cloud security firm Zscalar into privacy issue with

> iOS apps found that 96 per cent of iOS apps require email, address

> book (92 per cent), location (84 per cent), camera (52 per cent),

> calendar (32 per cent) permissions.

I don't believe it. What was their methodology? Can we have a link to this study?

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NatWest 'spam' email cockup got me slapped with late payment fee, says angry Reg reader

Phil Endecott

Re: WTF?!?

> a well meaning techie spots a problem with their network

He's lucky they didn't send the police round.

I would think that the checking that he must have done would count as "unauthorised access".

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Boffin benchmark battle after D-Wave quantum kit crawls in test

Phil Endecott

The paper is worth looking at - you can get the PDF.

The important question is, does this machine solve this NP problem in polynomial time?

With a much larger machine, it would be easy to distinguish between exponential and polynomial runtimes. Because it is currently small, this is harder. A further confusing factor is that "classical" machines can use simulated annealing to solve this problem in what seems to be better than exponential time most of the time.

So it is possible that the machine has no or limitted quantum entanglement, yet still performs well because it is annealing.

It would be great if this machine really works, but so far the evidence looks marginal, and dwave's agressive PR gives a bad taste

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Modern spying 101: How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios - NYT

Phil Endecott

Re: Sceptical

> A device that can transmit 8 miles to a briefcase sized receiver is going

> to need considerable RF output power (several hundred mW).

> it will be eminently detectable

They use something that they call "continuous wave radar". Essentially, the bug contains a FET with the gate connected to the signal being monitored and the source connected to ground. The drain is open (and I guess might have a small aerial). This doesn't actually radiate anything, and so isn't detected by the obvious bug sweeping methods.

The briefcase contains a powerful microwave transmitter and directional antenna, which is used to "illuminate" the bug. When on, the FET absorbs the microwaves - but because it only conducts in one direction, the current that flows has a half-cycle waveform. The effect is that it re-radiates on various harmonics of the illuminating frequency, with an amplitude that depends on the gate voltage. This re-radiation is received back at the briefcase.

This can be connected up to a low-frequency signal like a keyboard connection, RS232, etc. quite easily. Monitors can also be observed because although the signals are high-frequency you can integrate over many frames to build up the image (and it doesn't need to be pixel-perfect). Things like ethernet, SATA and high-speed USB would be more difficult, but probably still possible at shorter ranges.

> I just feel is is highly unlikely that it could be done without some

> inquisitive individual finding it.

They have VGA cables where the bug is inside the ferrite bulge, and they have PCB-mounted USB/ethernet sockets where the bug is built into the socket. They are able to intercept your new computer in the post and fit these things. I think those would get past most "inquisitive individuals".

Do have a look at the leaked PDF linked in one of the earlier comments - and do remember that that is now 5 years old.

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Snapchat vows to shut its hole in wake of 4.6 million user data breach

Phil Endecott

Re: What I don't get...

> The whole point of Snapchat is to send nude pics, yes?

Perhaps not. The only time I've seen SnapChat used "in the wild" was a young woman in a cafe who said to her friends, when her salad arrived, "Oh that looks delicious, I'm going to SnapChat it.".

I suspect that within some demographic it is used as a WhatsApp / BBM / Twitter replacement, with any "pr0n" associations now forgotten by its users.

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Merry Christmas? Not for app devs: That gold rush is officially OVER

Phil Endecott

Yes, it's hard to think of any other product where at 25% year-on-year increase is a "crash"....

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Andrew Fentem: Why I went to an arts quango to fund pre-iPhone multitouch

Phil Endecott

Re: So, Why did he go to an arts quango to fund his pre-iPhone multitouch?

To the 6 people who've replied to say what the S and T in NESTA stand for: no, I hadn't overlooked that. If you're looking at something as important as the source of funding for your business idea, you really do need to look beyond just the NAME of something. NESTA had no staff with any experience of funding tech startups. How was that ever going to end well?

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Phil Endecott

Re: Buy to let alternative

> What else could I do with a few tens of thousands?

Buy ARM shares.

Or more reasonably, buy shares in a portfolio of tech companies that you think have a bright future.

Or if you want to support startups that are not yet publicly traded, see if you can find a VC to invest in.

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Phil Endecott

So, Why did he go to an arts quango to fund his pre-iPhone multitouch?

The question in the headline isn't really answered. He seems to acknowledge that he should have gone to a VC, but didn't. That was his mistake.

I knew people who were looking for VC funding around that time, and it was not easy - but it was possible if you had a good pitch; I know of two or three companies who are doing well having started around that time. I can't imagine any of those people seriously considered going to an "arts quango" for money (though some may have got cash from regional development agencies).

The story reads like: "smart engineer who is naive about business makes bad choice and realises too late".

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Ex-Microsofties face 20 years in slammer over insider trading

Phil Endecott

> “For every stock market winner, there is a loser"

Really?

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Oi, bank manager. Only you've got my email address - where're these TROJANS coming from?

Phil Endecott

Re: Oh really?

Are those 2a60d7b58@ addresses actually message-ids?

That is what i see. Someone has greped using a regexp that picks up messag-ids as well as email addresses.

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I thought I was being DDOSed. Turns out I'm not that important...

Phil Endecott

It won't just stop

It won't just stop.

You need a mail server with enough bandwidth and other resources to continuously absorb the spam.

Of course you can mitigate that to a certain extent by quickly dropping spammy connections, but there is a limit to what is possible.

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Phil Endecott

Re: Massive Graduate Unemployement

> Does anyone else see a flaw in this plan?

My thought exactly. It seems backwards. It seems that either (a) they need to discourage school leavers from choosing this dead-end degree, or (b) they need to encourage businesses to recruit more of these unloved graduates. Or maybe (c) the article is messed up, and either the problem or the proposed solution is being mis-described.

From where I sit, it looks like the "smart startup" end of the computer business is short of good people. Even many of the "good" people are not actually good enough to drive a startup to success. Maybe small companies need to learn how to use "average" graduates better. Or maybe the really smart undergraduates are still being turned into bankers, or something.

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