Psst - wanna see what the super-secret Stingray manual looks like?
166 posts • joined 29 Jun 2012
Psst - wanna see what the super-secret Stingray manual looks like?
I'm just waiting for the first call...
<Indian accent> "Hello, I'm calling from the Windows 10 Compensation Department. Please give me your bank details so I can send you the compensation."
Oh no - what have I said? Do scammers read El Reg?
"Call us when someone can jump an air gap or escape a TEMPEST room without installing anything first."
So, you never saw the film Scanners?
"I've seen dowsing work, but that was for water dowsing shallow wells"
Well, there's a cool million bucks from James Randi waiting for someone. Funnily, it has remained unclaimed all these years.
"This does not address the root problem of emissions regulations that are not achievable in the real world with current technology. Car manufacturers have a choice of cheating the test or breaking the laws of physics."
Yes - that's why I'm waiting with interest to see what clever software solution they come up with. I'm assuming they'd tried pretty hard to beat the competition (on performance vs consumption vs emissions) by legal means before resorting to cheating.
What will they pull out of the hat that they couldn't manage before? So far, I've had two letters from them to say the new software will be ready soon for my 2.0 litre lump. I expect those softies are under quite a bit of management pressure and I wish them well.
"At least he didn't say 'leverage our customer experience improvement expertise'"
I think you failed to grasp the underlying metaphor. Once they've enlarged the paradigm and internalised the footprint, the delight will be a quantum leap off the roadmap while they penetrate the customer. While leveraging the goal, keeping both eyes on the triple-play scenario will become readily attainable.
It's the sort of talk which gives 'talking bollocks' a bad name.
(With a nod to an esteemed former colleague and probably Mr. Unwin).
We have read here how use of base-station simulators like StingRay to track a suspect's mobile now require a warrant (depending on jurisdiction). E.g.-
"California has passed a law requiring police to obtain a warrant before searching phones, tablets, and other electronic devices, [...]
This even includes Stingray devices ..."
Does this new ruling that a warrant is _not_ required overturn part of the California ruling?
"The US Department of Justice has moved to quell the ongoing row over the use of IMSI-catchers like Stingray, with a new policy that requires a warrant before they're deployed."
I'm an engineer, not a lawyer, but this interests me.
"...either the Fitbit was wrong or he had a medical problem causing brachycardia, because the only person that should have a heart rate of 50 in the middle of the day is an endurance athlete..."
Ah - my special moment, at last! My resting pulse is usually below 50, and rarely under 40. That's measured manually, against a watch. I do regular cardio training but I think it's mostly genetic. It has raised the odd eyebrow among medics and blood donation peeps but nobody seemed worried.
I agree with your point though. "you shouldn't use it to accurately measure your heartrate"
Like many measuring instruments, it's far more useful for making relative measurements, rather than absolute ones.
My suggestion: Don't waste dosh on wrist-worn gimmicky tat, get off your arse and do some exercise. Just don't be daft about it.
I wonder if she's got a coil fitted...
"...Bill Bryson'..extolling the virtues of OS mapping, and the level of detail that they go to. Words to the effect of...you can go and sit on a rock in the middle of nowhere, open up an OS map, and see a depiction of the very rock that your posterior is perched upon."
Well remembered! I like BB's turn of phrase. I think it was something like "...the spot where my buttocks were deployed."
"How do we know that Dark Matter is needed to explain the gravitational effects that we observe, as opposed to simply not having accurately estimated the mass of the matter we are observing ?"
"How can we be so certain that we aren't simply under-estimating the mass of the matter we can see ?"
Good questions. I think you just about touched on the answer; it's not just the rotational speed, but the _distribution_ of orbital speed across the galaxy's disc. The speed ought to roll off as you get away from the centre of (visible) mass but it doesn't. Diagram here:
Like these: http://www.toolstation.com/search?searchstr=20727%2072862
"...with no less than 13..."
It's 'fewer', not 'less'. Not asking a lot; somebody who writes for a living really ought to know this.
Having carried this 'rule' in my head for decades, I was somewhat surprised when the lingo experts on BBC Radio 4 debunked it as a bit of 'hypercorrection*.' They said that the use of 'less' to denote quantity OR count has a long and valid history.
*Hypercorrect = over-pedantic application of rules which are actually wrong. E.g, insisting that "octopi" is the plural of "octopus" when it isn't.
Being a pedant is one thing, but being a WRONG pedant is really undesirable.
When I worked at a US-based telecoms company, there was mandatory training in what was permitted and what wasn't. Curiously, the main 'takeaways' from the course were:
1. You must not bribe any government official
2. Any 'sweeteners' paid must be properly accounted for in the books. E.g. in Saudi, where backhanders are a normal part of doing business.
I expected to hear that any bribes of any kind (given or received) were verboten, but I didn't spot it.
Then there was the stuff about non-finanacial gifts and corporate hospitality and avoiding conflicts of interest (real or apparent). Should I declare my calendar from a supplier?
@ Steven Roper
"Write your own code you lazy bastards. Then you know exactly what does what and where it's supposed to go. I can set up an easily maintainable small-business ecommerce website with protection against SQL-injection and XSS attacks, full CMS, ..."
Steven, I'd like to learn how to do some of this stuff for myself but my qualifications are in electronics, not software. Can you suggest some pointers for getting started, please? I realise that this may be too ambitious a goal, but I read these pages to further my knowledge. Thanks.
"Yes, some corporations are still primarily composed of people. Some bright at certain things, and not so bright at other things"
I think that attitude is part of the problem - calling people "less bright" just because they don't yet know what you know. It's the punchline of several computer-related yarns. Education is needed, not silly name-calling.
I come to this site to learn stuff from the knowledgable contributors, partly to stay safe but also because the topic interests me. We need to help the people who aren't directly interested in "all that computer stuff" but would be seriously inconvenienced by an attack (compromised email, bank etc).
Upvoted for the (cryptic) Marx Brothers reference!
Please accept an upvote for the Graham's number reference. (Although not even Zuck could realistically claim that many users).
This product was describe on the BBC site as something which would reflect the stream back onto the perp's feet. BUT - what if the perp is wearing those treated boots? It would bounce back onto the wall, creating an oscillation. Where do I collect my Nobel Prize?
"Given that nobody seems able to spell the word correctly anymore ..."
While you're at it, "anymore" is not an English word, although Merkins accept it. Here, it should be two separate words. Same goes for other non-words like "everytime" etc.
Years go, I used to read this site at work, until they brought in net-nanny-ware, which blocked it for containing nudity. IT'S LEGO FFS, put together by a non-believer. I recommend the sections on The Law from the Old Testament. Good thing we now have the Geneva Convention which trumps the rule to slaughter your PoWs, keeping the female virgins, natch.
M&W did a few sketches showing what happens when scriptwriters don't bother to consult real experts. E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7yfLwMds5c (hospital)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alEWhMXIZUg (space ship)
"If you still need someone to spell it out for you, ask your daughter, wife or sister."
If you still need someone to spell it out for you, ask your wife, mistress or girlfriend. Or maybe ask all three.
"Yet it was only about 7 years ago it was considered completely unacceptable to pass someone's telephone number or email address on without asking their permission first."
I lose patience with the well-intentioned numpties who insist on forwarding jokes and email hoaxes without:
1. Being arsed to edit out the previous sender's details (and probably their distribution list)
2. Thinking to use 'bcc' instead of sending my address to dozens of strangers
3. Bothering to check that the virus warning from a friend's friend's cousin who works at Microsoft is a hoax. Or that Nokia might not actually be rewarding people for doing something useless, like sending emails.
Funny how otherwise-polite people lose all sense of ettiquette when sitting at a computer.
"Why don’t we adjust the length of 1 second by a tadge?"
As Brian said, it's been linked to a specific time-period of an emission by caesium. It's fair to ask why.
I imagine the Time People were looking to link the second to something which fitted several criteria:
1: It has to be really, really close to the earlier value of the second.
2: It has to be reproducible, so that other peeps can have their own accurate seconds
3: It has to be really stable; not drifting or jittering over time.
The caesium emission fits these criteria, but the rotation of the earth cares little for our precise seconds and its period even has small, random fluctuations. So, every now and then, we have the leap second to keep our clocks in agreement with the earth's rotation.
Executive summary: We now have a very accurate second but a rather inaccurate planet.
"In the US, it would have been 30 years to 250 years in the clink.
I've always wondered how that would work (and what the point of such a conviction is). Do the prisoners turn into zombies after they die which they then keep locked up?"
Only with gentle Jeebus and the invention of Christianity came the threat of torment and torture after the earth had closed over you. (Source: C.Hitchens) A little later, Islam borrowed the idea, e.g
"If you believe in only part of the Scripture, you will suffer in this life and go to hell in the next. 2:85"
"So that explains the F00F bug then."
FOOF - you really don't want that around.
Dioxygen difluoride is a compound of fluorine and oxygen with the molecular formula O2F2. [...]It is an extremely strong oxidant and decomposes into oxygen and fluorine even at −160 °C (113 K) [...] Dioxygen difluoride reacts with nearly every chemical it encounters – even ordinary ice – leading to its onomatopoeic nickname "FOOF"
It reacts even with gold.
Great reading for anyone with an interest in chemistry and humour:
"People bought Vhs rather than the superior Beta"
Sony shafted themselves by refusing to licence the Beta standard to other manufacturers. As mentioned here before, Sony are masters of incompatibilty. The non-standard memory cards for cameras springs to mind. I was suprised to see that Sony actually offered Android 'phones.
It's more than a decade now since Sony's famous rootkit got blown open but we remember.
"Was the dolphin circumcised?"
Tricky - that would probably need four skin-divers.
...than those 'pictures' of Jeebus and family appearing in bits of toast, dirty laundry, and mouldy walls.
Lithium fires are for wusses. Go and read about chlorine trifluoride; that's the stuff that sets SAND on fire. Delightful notes at:
The compound [is] also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile.
"or didn't you know that Lawyers only care about the rate/hour ...
"Y'know, lawyers are like bridge-rectifiers. Whichever way the case goes, money always flows towards the lawyers.
Amazon (UK) have wiped out all the reviews of the must-have book Penetrating Wagner's Ring (Digaetani). It's at least the second purge they've had, depriving me of of giggles. Fortunately, Amazon.com still has some er- useful reviews of this scholarly subject:
As St. Paddy said to the snakes as he drove them out of Ireland:
"Are you guys ok in the back there?"
That would be in common with...
Attis (born on December 25 of the Virgin Nana)
Qi, the Abandoned One
Lao-tse ( conceived when his mother gazed upon a falling star)
If memory serves, the proper name for the 'rear' of a coin is the "obverse."
...someone in my household was involved in an accident, within the past three years.
Yes, I said, that's right, my granddad got his bell-end stuck in a washing machine door. The staff in the Curry's showroom were really helpful, though. Goodbye.
I treated myself to a Traser watch, some years back. It has 14 of those tiny glass tritium/phosphor tubes on the hour marks and main hands. The 12 o'clock mark has orange phosphor while the others are green.
Forking out eighty-odd squids was a bit of a leap, as all previous my watches had been under a tenner. Still, it really does the business; perfectly findable and readable in those wee hours.
One day, of course, it'll just be a watch.
For every vaguely useful invention, there's a marketer who asks "Great, now how can we make this more expensive?"
Too right! J&J are responsible for trying to slather all newborns in their vile, sickly, overpowering perfume.
Babies don't need perfume, and they certainly don't need their little lungs dusted with perfumed talc.
By the way, I don't like J&J.
Yes, yes, YES!
"also prevents arsehole insurance companies from placing recurring annual charges on your card when you only signed up for one year's insurance "
Just stay away from dishonest weasels like Budget Insurance. They'll promise not to try any of that auto-renewal crap again, don't worry, until eleven months later. Then you get the letter saying they're helping themselves to your money, so you write, email and 'phone them to say don't bloody dare. They acknowledge your request and THEN try to steal your money. With luck, your credit/debit card will have been re-issued by then, with a new number, thwarting them. Then, they'll be after you for an admin fee for messing them around. Avoid Budget!
Alan Brown said:
"Binding it with carbon is even easier because you don't have to "recharge" the metal. There's a lot more hydrogen in a litre of diesel than in a litre of liquid hydrogen."
Brilliant! All we need to do is burn coal to make electricity, use it to electrolyse water, combine the hydrogen with more coal to produce big molecules, say octane. Then use THAT for running the car.
It's no dafter than using hydrogen as a fuel.
"I think you're being a bit naive if you think this or most other wars have anything to do with religion. Stalin was an atheist, to give but one example."
Sigh - not that old canard again. Stalin was a bastard who just happened to be an atheist. He didn't slaughter people in the name of atheism.
While there have been many wars over territory and supremacy, there has been an unhealthy proportion of wars where religious motivation has been at or close to the surface.
"There are only two things the internet is good for. [...]
And poor grammer ..."
I see what you did there.
"To assume the vast number of variables that effect decay rate to be constant over time is ABSURD."
Ok, bring it on. What effects do you know that effect decay time? Last I heard, there was nothing known that affected the decay rate of a particular isotope, apart from the most extreme nucleus-impacting environments.
The constancy of radioactive decay is what enables us to date materials. Cross-referencing using different daughter isotopes gives good agreement for (say) the age of the Earth. Would you suggest that some force has affected all the different isotopes in some cunning way so that they still give the same result?
"a lot of sensors and cameras have more than sufficient sensitivity in near IR"
As DougS also pointed out, this is a useful trick to see if your remote control is working; just pick up that mobile.
Because of the sonsor's intrinsic sensitivity to IR, cameras, webcams, 'phones have IR-rejecting filters. Without the filters, the contrast and relative brightness of objects in the captured image would be messed up. There are some pages on the web showing how to remove the filters and have some IR fun.
BTW - the longer-wavelength IR will have a different focussing point to visible light and the lens won't be optimised for it. It's still on my 'to do' list. Readers old enough to remember 'proper' cameras may have noticed the additional focusing mark for use with IR film.
1. Boy, are you holding it wrong(ly)
2. Maybe the 6-inch monster phone wasn't such a good choice.
3. Gives a new meaning to 'ringtone.'
"Mate of mine used to work with a near-totally-deaf woman who had a hearing dog. When her phone rang the dog would bark."
An old story...
It's common practice to ring a telephone by signaling extra
voltage across one side of the two wire circuit and ground. When the
subscriber answers the phone, it switches to the two wire circuit for
the conversation. This method allows two parties on the same line to be
signaled without disturbing each other.
Anyway, an elderly lady with several pets called to say that her
telephone failed to ring when her friends called, and that on the few
occasions when it did ring her dog always barked first. The telephone
repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog.
He climbed a nearby telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed
her house. The phone didn't ring. He tried again. The dog barked loudly,
followed by a ringing telephone. Climbing down from the pole, the
telephone repairman found:
1. A dog was tied to the telephone system's ground post via an iron
chain and collar.
2. The dog was receiving 90 volts of ring signal.
3. After several such jolts, the dog would start barking and urinating
on the ground.
4. The wet ground now completed the circuit and the phone would ring.
Which shows you that some problems in life can be fixed by just pissing
"Lindt Excellence 99%"
I'm always looking for the better (80+%) dark choc so I was amazed to find this in a French supermarket. I bought some out of curiosity. It was like eating cocoa powder in solid form; there was certainly nothing sweet about it. Not sure I actually liked it.