* Posts by Charles Manning

3272 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

Are you a TREE-HUGGER? Your WOODEN HAREM is much BIGGER than thought

Charles Manning
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Re: Won't someone think of the seedlings?

Apparently the CO2-is-bad brigade have found a loophole in the CO2--is-yummy-plant-food argument.

I was told by one of these anti-CO2 people that the extra CO2 was causing plant obesity and this puts stress on the internal processes of the plant, causing them to be less healthy. He didn't quite go as far as to say that being fat would cause the plants to get diabetes, but the parallel running through his mind was obvious.

I suggested that he could start handing out pamphlets to the plants to suggest plenty of exercise and outdoor activity.

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Charles Manning
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Oh the irony!

Crowther and his colleagues' study is published in hefty boffinry mag Nature....requiring the chopping down of a few trees for pulp.

I hope the fine gents revised their numbers to reflect this loss of our rooted brethren.

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Hidden password-stealing malware lurking in your GPU card? Intel Security thinks not

Charles Manning
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Re: BIOS? it's all UEFI nowadays

"it takes a long time to spin updated processors"

If the security hole is not in the CPU, then it is hard to see how the CPU can fix it.

Sure MS can be sure the driver is OK, but what if the hardware itself is doing the accesses without even the driver's say so?

For a crust I occasionally do work with Altera SOCFPGAs. These are an FPGA and Dual core SOC that sit as bus masters on the same RAM. Since they share RAM, the FPGA can read/write wherever it wants without the CPu being able to stop it.

The FPGA can also access the SOC peripherals (hard ethernet controllers, GPIOs, MMC etc etc) as part of the memory map, but the CPU can limit access onto those buses.

Just like the NSA probably got Intel to backdoor their CPUs it would also be easy for them to backdoor something like an ethernet controller. Most ethernet controller designs only come from a few vendors such as Designware. If Desnware was sufficiently motivated by threats, dollars or partiotism they could easily plant a small state machine in an ethernet controller that acts on malformed naughty packets and goes reads/writes RAM and sends the data out again as an ethernet frame.

I'm not saying Designware are naughty, just using them as a for-example.

The only way to solve these sorts of issue is to design the whole system security from the buses up. That's a challenging thing to do and it can't be retrofitted or fixed by changing from Windows to Linux.

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Charles Manning
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Re: The CPU isn't the only bus master

"Microsoft even requires BIOS vendors to disable PCI bus mastering"

But at some time you have to reenable the bus mastering otherwise your GPU, ethernet controller, USB, etc etc won't work.

Any nefarious device just has to wait until it is granted access to slip in a few extra naughty samples.

Yes, there are things that can be done to help, but just trying to fix it in the bios is not enough.

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Charles Manning
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The CPU isn't the only bus master

Anti-virus software, and OS protection, all works on the assumption that the CPU controls everything that goes on in the machines address space.

That is clearly not the case. Everything plugged into the bus can read/write memory via DMA: graphics cards, ethernet controllers, USB controllers, heck, even UARTs! If any of these have any nefarious software + CPU (or teeny tiny state machines) in them then they can read/write what they want and then do whatever they want.

So it is very much possible to get some modded GPU firmware that does naughty things.

These guys even attacked Mac by just by plugging in an attacker, no software, no user intervention required:

http://www.slideshare.net/blowmenowpls/thunderbolts-and-lightning-very-very-frightening

Since Thunderbus is just wrapped PCI/E, the attacker device could do DMA via Thunderbus and search system RAM for anything they want. Heck, with a bit more effort they could have also read the disk!

There are things you can do about this, but the security has to be moved further towards hardware level locking and must be less dependent on software.

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Don't go breaking my shrimp: Boffin names crustacean after Elton John's appendage

Charles Manning
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Inside other

A crustacean that is found inside other crustaceans... Yup, I can join the dots.

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So, was it really the Commies that caused the early 20th Century inequality collapse?

Charles Manning
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Re: Post-war 90/10 story

The idea that fixing up stuff creates wealth is known as Broken Window Fallacy. Sure a lot of spending goes on, but it does not create value and therefore does not create wealth.

It does create wealth for some players though. USA made a mint (from both sides) selling war goods during the war. They were not bombed to hell, so when their men came back from war they were immediately able to become highly productive - supplying both local demands suppressed by the war economy as well as supplying other countries that were recovering. Since they sold a lot of stuff on tick, that gave them leverage to sell their own goods.

This also gave USA their ability to flex their imperial muscle. They were the only nation that was not hammered and they had all this money to throw around.

But was there really a huge boom in Europe after the war? Not so sure. I have never been to Europe myself, I've spoken to people from both sides of the conflict. The 1950s were a hard time for England, Germany, France and Italy at least. All these countries had post-war rationing. UK only stopped rationing in 1954 - 9 years after the end of the war.

HTF can you say they're booming when there's rationing?

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Dropbox DROPS BOX as service GOES TITSUP worldwide

Charles Manning
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So a BOFH screwed up?

Well there's a first time for everything!

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Jeep Cherokee 2.2: Capable, comfortable ... but just not very Jeep

Charles Manning
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A modern Defender isn't a real Landy either.

The last real Landy was a series 3, and that's even being a bit generous.

If it has coil spring suspension it isn't a Landy.

If you still have your kidneys after a 50 mile trip it wasn't in a Landy.

It it has an automatic gearbox it isn't a Landy.

If it has an air conditioner or heater that actually works, it isn't a Landy.

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Charles Manning
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Nobody make offroaders any more

When cowboy boots get made out of Italian leather they're no longer cowboy boots - they're just sexy shoes for wearing in gay bars.

The same is happening with 4WD and other "tough" vehicles. They're no longer designed around practicality, they're now being designed for fashion.

One of the more modern trends (I guess this year's car fashion) is to have deep body panels topped with visor-like slits of glass. Maybe OK on a roadster, but the last thing you want in an offroader - where you need plenty of visibility to see where the wheels are going etc.

Today I saw one of the new Mazda BT50 pickup (what we in NZ call a ute). BT50 was once a hard working ute, but now no more! This has the skinny glass, but IMHO the worst offence are the rear lights. They're split - half on the body and half on the tailgate. In real usage, tailgates get a thrashing. They get dented and bashed. Those lights are going to get broken really, really quickly.

But no doubt they'll sell in droves to Italian leather cowboy boot wearers to go clubbing.

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FORKING BitcoinXT: Is it really a coup or just more crypto-FUD?

Charles Manning
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Expending energy does not give bitcoin value.

Any currency is only a share in something of value.

A physical coin can either be exchanged for its value in metal (by melting it down) - a practice that is illegal in many countries, or it is a symbol for a share in an economy. Thus, the value of USA goods and assets is $x and $1 is 1/x of the value of that.

That is inherently why printing more money causes inflation. If the money is printed faster than the value of the economy increases, then inflation occurs.

Many have said that Bitcoin gets its scarcity value because it takes a lot of energy to mine one. Yes, it is true that making a new bitcoin takes increasing amounts of energy. But that is not enough. The resulting product still needs to have value.

If I drive 300 miles to get a pebble from the beach, I cannot say that pebble is worth 300 miles of fuel, wear and tear and driver time. It is just a pebble, no more valuable than the thousands of pebbles in my driveway. It is only worth what I can con someone to believe a pebble is worth.

That's the same with bitcoins. They are just a sequence of bits. Your CD collection has billions of sequences of bits. What makes these bits special?

There is no legal framework (like there is with national currencies) that gives bitcoin value. Basically people have picked up pebbles and started trading with them. That's all fine until either:

A) People get bored with the game.

- or -

B) Someone tries to change the game. We're now trading with acorns and not pebbles.

History is littered with alternative currencies that have failed and bitcoin is just going to end up being one of those.

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French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

Charles Manning
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Of course radar danger was real

Sitting next to unshielded radar is basically the same as sitting in a microwave oven. Radar operators would use the devices to warm their food. Smash out the glass on a microwave an put your hand inside and bits are going to get cooked.

As you say, that've a few orders of magnitude higher than Wifi.

But Mlle Batshit clearly does not understand EM at all. She's gone reclusive and is living off grid in the mountains. EM radiation is worse high up.

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Why is the smart home insecure? Because almost nobody cares

Charles Manning
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I've watched them being developed...

During last year and a bit of this year I was involved in developing a Bluetooth LE (aka BT4, BT Smart) device based on a single-chip BTLE solution from Nordic Semiconductors that runs the BT stack on a Coretex M0 micro.

Of course the chip comes with a board support package (BSP) + example code that is intended to show off how the chip works. The code has clear disclaimers saying that this is for demo purposes. Some of the demos are for remote controls, heart rate monitors etc etc... the sorts of IoT things that people are designing.

They also have a forum where people can discuss issue. That's where it gets scary...

From the forum is is plainly obvious that there are many people developing these devices for market who are just taking the for-demo-only examples, tweaking them a bit and then pouring them into products. Job done.

Some of the blame can possibly be placed on marketing and management. The engineer takes an example, tweaks it a bit and demos the desired product function and shows it to marketing. They get excited. Engineer then says the code needs to be rewritten properly and that will take 6 months. Engineer gets overruled - they want to go into production immediately.

But engineers must cop some of the blame too. Most of these frameworks and protocols are incredibly complex and very few engineers scratch below the surface. They like the idea of just taking a demo and tweaking it because that is the easy path. The really hard work is in taking ownership for full product function - not just the few lines of tweakery.

These low quality BSPs are a huge problem. They encourage people to generate shoddy products.

I suppose I should not complain too much. Fixing up the mess is what keeps me in gravy.

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Visitors no longer welcomed to Scotland's 'Penis Island'

Charles Manning
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Re: Proof, (if it were needed)

" it's a part of our history and culture"

So is morris dancing, but that's left to community organisations (ie. clubs) and not the taxpayer.

Getting the government involved with these programs tends not to work for at least two reasons:

* Governments tend to measure their action in the amount of money spent - not the outcomes. Therefore spending more is good - it does not really matter what happens.

* Taxpayers see this waste and get resentful. Instead of supporting efforts they tend to oppose them.

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Manhattan-sized iceberg splits from glacier – and spotted FROM SPACE

Charles Manning
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Spotted from SPAAACE

You can see a baseball from space, so what's the point you're trying to make?

Spotted from space sounds like one of those stupid terms you throw around to make a statement/claim sound "scientific" and give it unwarranted credibility.

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More deaths linked to Ashley Madison hack as scammers move in

Charles Manning
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Re: Suicide rates

An upvote to you for applying some rational thinking.

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High-heeled hacker builds pen-test kit into her skyscraper shoes

Charles Manning
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"Admittedly I don't have the upper body distraction she has"

Well I do have moobs that would compete with hers.

Unfortunately that just causes people to avert their eyes and makes them look at my shoes.

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Brit hydro fuel cell maker: our tech charges iPhone 6 for a week

Charles Manning
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Re: And what happens to the vapours?

Don't worry, Apple will parent a way to make the vapours condense into a cute holographic-looking rainbow.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

Charles Manning
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The Greater Good

Sure, we must think of the Greater Good, but that needs to be balanced with the individual good too.

As Tim has pointed, out, much - perhaps most - of the capital that individuals own is in property. That capital value is underpinned by a controlled scarcity caused by zoning laws.

If the cities were to rapidly open up huge tracts of land for development through re-zoning then, in the short term at least, land prices will be driven down.

That sucks for at least the following reasons:

* If your house devalues from, say 600k to, say, 400k then that 200k shortfall is still real money for the individual. They're still paying mortgage on a 600k house that is now only worth 400k. Some people will end up owing more than the property value.

* Cities charge taxes based on property value. When property values go down, they have a hard time pushing up the charges to compensate.

So how does one act in the common good without ripping off the individual?

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Win8 inventory glut? Yep, it's all Microsoft's fault, says HP

Charles Manning
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How about a Coke Classic move?

There are some of us old enough to remember the New Coke/Coke Classic débâcle of 1985.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke

If one substitutes Apple == OSX(*) and Coke == Windows you get a pretty good analogy.

Perhaps Microsoft should just bring back XP.

(*) Somewhat fitting in that John Sculley headed Pepsi until Steve hired him away for Apple.

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Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

Charles Manning
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"As usual, you can count on Intel to fix these in the next version of the Stick."

Intel never, never follow through. That's why the embedded systems industry hate them with a passion.

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The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

Charles Manning
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Are reg writers really that naive?

Yes people really are that stupid.

And these are the reasonably intelligent people who can figure out that you're supposed to type on a keyboard and not lick it.

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Ashley Madison keeps calm, carries on after hackers expose lives of millions of its users

Charles Manning
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Shirley

Surely it is easy to explain to the missus:

"We've been pranking each other at the office but those dickheads have gone too far this time."

Of course the little hitchhikers on your tackle are a bit harder to explain. Cybersecurity can't fix that!

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Bruce Schneier: 'We're in early years of a cyber arms race'

Charles Manning
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We have met the enemy...

and he is us.

All the sabre rattling about Russians and Chinese is just the same fear mongering that had USAians dig bomb shelters during the Cold War.

The biggest threat of all is still the state vs the citizen.

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Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Charles Manning
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why are all the car companies in such a damn hurry?

Tim, Tim, Tim...

For one such as you who is good at looking through the veils of corporate behaviour, I would have thought the answer is obvious.

Publicly listed companies are only partially driven by what makes financial sense (ie. delivering product such as cars to customers). They are also driven by the other thing they produce: stock value (ie. delivering a stock that is attractive to the stock market).

To address the former, the car companies re-jig their designs regularly according to fashion: this year it is small round headlights and deep side panels with skinny glass panels - about as practical and useful as high heeled shoes. Next year it will be big headlights and curvy or boxy or something else with acres of glass.

To address the later, the car companies must be perceived to be doing whatever is fashionable. Right now fancy research into driverless cars etc is just the mode. They've got to be seen to be up there playing the game even if it does not ever get anywhere useful. If they don't then shareholder's meetings get uncomfortable and boards get fired. This is particularly the case when the straight spread-sheet performance of the company isn't good.

We see exactly the same in the electronics industry too. Watch the repetitive buy/divest pattern that Intel gets into: they buy StrongARM cpus from DEC, then when acquisition becomes unfashionable they sell the business unit to Marvell. Rinse and repeat with literally scores of other business units that they have bought high and sold low.

We saw exactly the same with dot.bomb in 2000/2001. Otherwise sane companies buying up useless startups for big money because it was the done thing. They were basically forced into it by their shareholders.

We see Microsoft doing this: waving around new tech at Comdex (remember that daft touch screen table). They have to be seen to be doing research and not just sitting on their duffs.

So when companies do daft stuff like set up driverless car programs, don't be surprised, just look for the forces behind the curtain.

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PALE, MALE AND STALE: Apple reveals it has just ONE black exec

Charles Manning
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Why don't we get this anguish about garbage collection?

We hear nonsense like: More than 50% of facebook users are female, therefore more than 50% of facebook programmers should be women.

Well women create more garbage than men, so by the same logic most garbage collectors should be female.

Let's stop obsessing about what's in a person's pants. It is what is in their brains that matters.

From the 1960s to the present, the medical profession has swung from male to female (70% of UK medical students are female). Why did that not happen to engineering?

It's probably down to just pure correlation. For example, autistic tenancies a often associated with engineering and with being male.

Further, intelligent women are often guided (by mostly female guidance councillors) to go into political/leadership roles (eg. womens' studies and politics/law) rather than engineering.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Spanish summer soother salmorejo

Charles Manning
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Why chop then blend?

Just blend surely.

If you leave the tomato skins on, you'll end up with nice little red flecks - adding an interesting colour as well as being far less hassle.

This is post-pub nosh. Not faggy resturant grub. It should be fast and easy to do. Fiddly steps like pealing tomatoes is completely incongruent with post-pub,

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Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

Charles Manning
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Re: "Oh, and in really bad times, gold is useless as it cannot be eaten or worn."

"If we're into shotgun and baked bean territory, you'll damn well have to be prepared to use the shotgun."

More to the point:

You have to be prepared to eat the baked beans!

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Skills crisis? Not for long: More and more UK kids gain STEM quals

Charles Manning
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Re: Good.

But is it enough?

In the 1980s when I got into computing many of the programmers were basically filing clerks who showed some gumption and were then sent on a 3 month COBOL programming course.

When I left University in 1983, a new grad would emerge with a large % of computing knowledge in their head.

The programmers from the 1980s are mostly going to be retiring before 2025. As many of my generation start to pop their clogs early, or head to management, or whatever,... the skill reservoir is depleting.

Since then, complexity has increased immensely. The level of skill you need to be productive has increased dramatically. Nett result is that we get effectively less skilled all the time.

Now a degree is just enough to get you a foot on the bottom rung of the ladder. It takes many years to get to proficiency.

Will the sprogs of today be able to spin up before the older generation give up?

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It's not just antivirus downloads that have export control screening

Charles Manning
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Re: Idiots

You see compliance costs, someone else sees revenues.

The reason these daft things keep progressing is that they slosh more swill in the trough for the 'experts". The "experts" are never going to say we don't need these measures, because they're the people gaining from it.

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Want Edward Snowden pardoned? You're in the minority, say pollsters

Charles Manning
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Who is Edward Snowden?

Look at 7 minutes 40 sec in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M

It would seem a healthy number of American don't know who Edward Snowden is, so they'd have to be lead in the interviewing. Without seeing the script it is hard to know if the survey has merit.

It could have been something like this:

"Do you think Edward Snowden should be pardoned?"

"Who is Edward Snowden?"

"He is this guy who admits that he spied on the NSA, then he went to Russia."

"Give him the chair."

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

Charles Manning
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Re: Ah, spirit copiers.

"Bandas died out because they won't breed in captivity..."

Yup, once they've sniffed each other they're too drunk to get it up.

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Charles Manning
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Re: <pendantry>

Since this about Roneo and not Romeo, perhaps it should be

O Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, Roneo, "clack" wherefore art thou, Roneo?

The "clack" is the handle disengaging when you got to the required count.

When I was at junior school the punishment for misbehaving was to do Roneos for the teachers during lunch break. No deterrent for me. I quite liked it and would sometimes come and offer my services for a few hours after school.

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Charles Manning
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Re: The good old days are gone, thank you!

Sequencing works with FORTAN and maybe COBOL. That works because anything past col 72 is considered comment.

The compiler I wrote was in PASCAL which, like C, uses the whole 80.

Yup I did use the diagonal stripe on occasions. We also used different colour cards (useful to separate libraries)

Libraries were generally a bunch of cards wrapped in paper (the user notes) and held together with a rubber band. Old hands had a bookshelf full of these.

When you needed to use your matrix multiplication library you'd get the cards from the shelf, add them to the deck, run the program then put them back when you were finished.

The worst part of using cards was the card readers. It was common for something to get loose and damage the cards making them unusable. Running a few hundred cards through the reader and getting all the cards back with a nick was depressing. If they were not too far gone you could duplicate them with the duplication feature on a card punch machine.

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Charles Manning
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The good old days are gone, thank you!

In the 1970s/early 1980s I was a real expert at operating a slide rule and a card punch machine. These skills gave me an edge over others. Those days are gone, and I shed not one tear.

I once wrote a whole compiler on punch cards. A whole box of 2000 cards. I tripped and dropped the bugger down a stairwell and it took be a few hours to get the cards back in order so the compiler worked.

Possibly the most challenging development environment was when I was working for a company in Cape Town in the mid 80s. Some of the code came in libraries on tape - posted from UK. We did not have the source code (much of which was written is assembler). When we found bugs in the code we'd patch it in place to execute a jump to some spare memory where we had the patch which we entered byte by byte in hand compiled machine code. Once the patch worked, we typed it all out and drew some pictures, then faxed the whole mess to the programmers in UK. It generally took a few voice + fax discussions to agree on a fix, then they'd send us another tape.

Presentations back then were primitive, but people concentrated on what was important. Maybe a few acetate slides for the overhead projector. Now we have people spending hours and hours making Powerpoints... Is the communication any better? Doubtfully. Is the productivity better? Certainly not...

Does backspace buy us much? Not always. Sometimes the ability to continuously refine stuff at a low expense wastes so much time.

As for income? Ok, I was not around in the 1950s, but back then very few people had cars - now one car per person of driving age is about standard. People complain they can't afford all they want, but back then there just was not much stuff to buy, and what you could buy was crap.

Things like cars were pretty crap. In winter it was pretty standard that cars would not start. A car that achieved 100k miles was a miracle.

A few weeks back I tried to explain to my 20 year-old-ish kids how crap my university buddy 1960s VW beetle was:

* It had 6V electrics. If it rained any to turned on the wipers the extra current draw would cause the headlights to dim on every cycle.

* The petrol "reserve" was basically a lever that went through into the fuel tank. To use the reserve you twist the lever and it basically tipped over a bucket with the reserve petrol in it. If you didn't twist it back the reserve would not work.

* The back seats were prone to catching fire because they were made from inflammable stuffing and wire springs - with the battery stored underneath.

* The windscreen washer was a pressurised container that stole its compressed air from the spare tyre. When you needed a spare it was typically flat!

* etc etc etc.

Yup, the good old days - you can have my share of them!

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CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS

Charles Manning
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If enough care...

Stallman is wrong. They don't take our computers away from us, we hand the computers over to them.

It's no different to saying McDonalds force you to eat rubbish food. Don't like it? Don't buy it!

Don't like what Microsoft or Lenovo sell you? Stop buying their crap!

Microsoft are getting desperate to cling to their customers. They still see the customers as their property though. When people stop buying their software they will have to eventually sit up and notice.

This abusive co-dependent relationship between MS and the customers is painful to watch. There are very, very few people in most organisations that require Windows for their work. Sure, there are some special packages that need Windows, but they're less and less.

Most people in most organisations just need basic word processing and a web browser. How about migrating them to Linux? Sure, there will be a few that need Windows too, but if 50% or an organisation can shift off Windows, MS will start getting the message Loud And Clear.

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Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

Charles Manning
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Thalidomide???

Yup you should stop drinking sugary drinks like Thalidomide when you're preggers. It goes straight to your hips.

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Hillary Clinton kept top-secret SIGINT emails on her home email server

Charles Manning
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Top Secret security

4 million is only 1% of the population.

There are about 2 million active and reserve in the military. They won't all need TS, but many will.

Then there are a whole lot of contractors, people in the arms industry, programmers, engineers, support staff + politicians who also need TS.

Given the US spends over $600BN per year on military, it's quite easy to see there's a lot of paper flying about that needs to be controlled.

Then we have all the alphabet soup agencies: CIA (20,000 employees) , NSA (30,000 employees) , NASA,... + all their contractors who are not employees...

Pretty soon it all stacks up.

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Mozilla-Microsoft spat latest: Firefox yanks Cortana away from Bing

Charles Manning
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Re: I'm Mullah-levels of mad

But still you support them by buying this shit.

MS don't care a damn who bitches and moans, so long as you keep buying.

Yes I realise that you personally might not be buying the stuff - a company does. But you choose to be a BOFH there. Enough BOFHs start demanding "mental danger pay" or taking stress/sick leave for working with MS products and the management will take notice and eventually look for alternatives.

But, hey, if you think yelling into an echo chamber is going to help you feel better then by all means just carry on.

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B is for Brussels: Google's corporate rejig WON'T insulate firm against antitrust probes

Charles Manning
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I doubt it's anti-trust protection

If you get to "cute" with corporate structuring judges can just decree that a conglomerate should be treated as a single company. Thus a restructure to try do a "Baby Bell" anti-trust dodge won't work.

Where it will work though is siloing some of the new business units with different risk and business profiles. For example, keeping the Google car and Google spaaaace business units in their own companies reduces risk as well as allowing those entities to be sold off easily if/when that makes sense.

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Lettuce in SPAAACE: Captive ISS 'nauts insist orbital veg is 'awesome'

Charles Manning
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Brewing in SPAAAACE

I'm trying to work out whether brewing would actually work in space.

As yeast grows and dies it rises and sinks through the beer with different yeasts doing different things.

No gravity would imply no up/down rising/falling. Would the yeast actually function properly?

Perhaps we need to work out an XPrize mission to find out. After all, this is very important; sending a mission to Mars and beyond with no beer would be seriously bad for morale.

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Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here's how to exploit it

Charles Manning
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Re: a ha ha ha ha ha :(

"We know about this flaw now,"

Yes we know about it. We also know how drugs get into prisons, yet every day prisoners around the world get stoned.

Security is like virginity and balloons: one prick and it's gone. One little vector is all you need.

Sure Windows has more vectors, and they're likely easier to attack, but basically we have a situation that you just have to assume anyone can get to anything they want to.

Not much different to the physical world really. Locks can be picked, cops can be bribed. Blackmail and threats will get a sufficiently determined and resourced person anything they want.

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Charles Manning
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re: OpenRISC

OpenRISC... The CPU code is open, but what about the package that cooks the VHDL down to fit on the ASIC/FPGA? What about the program that writes the bitstream to the FPGA.

Remember that's basically how Stuxnet works...

There is no complete guarantee.

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Charles Manning
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Re: a ha ha ha ha ha :(

Quite

Even if you have the full source code for the CPU, have you checked the compiler that then compiles the code into gates... and the software that then writes the gates to silicon.

These days even memory controllers have CPUs and code in them. Your disk driver has 2 or 3 ARM cores in it. Got the code for them? Checked it? Checked the compilers?...

A dma and a small state machine are all that is required to make your whole motherboard address space visible over an ethernet port. It would be an afternoon's work to hide that inside an ethernet controller.

After a while you just have to make some assumptions like you do in the physical world.

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Brassiere belays boob-bound bullet, begetting bruised breastbone

Charles Manning
Silver badge

Where's Ms Bee when you need her?

Clearly the Reg is lacking in knowledge of female clothing.

Underwire is not "wire lining". Not even in Old East German bras.

As Stork says, a rebounding bullet (wtf is a rebounding bullet? it's a bullet - not a basket ball) will be unstable and would have shed most of its energy. It certainly would not be likely to kill her.

About the minimum you'd need to kill a person with a direct hit to the chest would be a .22 and that would cut straight through an underwire. I have shot .22s through a car door [details redacted] and that's way stronger than any underwire.

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W is for WTF: Google CEO quits, new biz Alphabet takes over

Charles Manning
Silver badge

Pretty basic business siloing, surely

Google is a huge corp dabbling in many things.

If they all feed out of the same bank accounts etc, then a problem in one business unit can bring down everything.

Spinning up an umbrella company with lots of minion companies makes a lot of sense. You can easily contain risk, you can sell off companies, ...

For example, if a fleet of there robocars goes noddy and they end up being sued for billions, it is much easier to contain the damage if the companies are legally firewalled.

This is exactly why conglomerates like 3M consist of many smaller companies.

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Take THAT, Tesla: Another Oz energy utility will ship home batteries

Charles Manning
Silver badge

Not so much "heading off" Musk

The Aussie power companies are having their arms twisted and are being forced into doing various things whether they like it or not.

In this case though it does make some sense. Australia has quite a lot of PV (about 2% of generation). PV plays merry hell with generation unless you can switch on alternative generation very fast.

Most of Australia is powered from boilers (about 80%) which are slow to spin up/down. These ideally run at a constant load. The switching from daytime PV to night time boilers is very inefficient and anything that can flatten the curve makes sense.

Pump storage is better than batteries, but Australia isn't really geographically blessed for that.

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'WOMAN FOUND ON MARS' – now obvious men are from Venus

Charles Manning
Silver badge

She's standing on a rock....

If you zoom and enhance you'll see a tiny spider and she's waiting for a man to come kill it.

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Charles Manning
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Clearly...

A druid with moobs.

If this is the crap that crowd-sourcing science gives us, then please bring back the boffins.

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Texas senator Ted Cruz serves up sizzling 'machine gun bacon'

Charles Manning
Silver badge

Obama is probably being lobbied by the gun industry

Every time Obama opens his mouth on guns, there's a spike of sales in the legal gun trade. The gun industry has grown 50% under Obama. He's the world's best gun salesman.

Of course the illegal gun trade - which accounts for over 90% of the homicides - is unaffected, since they don't worry about pesky things like laws.

As for the bacon, it isn't the grease that's a problem. Some gun lubes (eg. Frog lube) are food grade. I'd be more worried about all the fouling from powder and primers contaminating the bacon.

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