* Posts by Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

461 posts • joined 26 Feb 2013

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Why are enterprises being irresistibly drawn towards SSDs?

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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@1980s_coder

"Go ahead, upvote Rebecca and let her upvote you"

For what it is worth, I upvoted every long comment on this subthread, because they contained one or more reasonable points.

Which does not mean I condone personal attacks, or unconditionally agree with every claim made.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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"OK, we agree up to a point - great."

Good call. It's an interesting discussion, and there's no need to get too emotional about it, because everybody had valid points to make.

Please consider two topics that were not mentioned yet:

1) PRML encoding method, which was introduced around 1991, and has been prevalent ever since. With major updates of course.

PRML means that reading bits off the magnetic media is not a straightforward process, it's a highly sophisticated guesswork. So an uncertain amount of uncertainty is to be expected.

2) T10-PI is a system of additional checksums that is designed to combat silent corruption problems discussed here. PI-capable drives can be formatted with 520-byte sectors, 8-byte checksum is kept inside the same data frame as 512 bytes of payload, and consistency checks are performed along the whole data path.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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"Flash naysayers also tend to leave out the part where traditional magnetic disks have mechanical components that break down and flash doesn't."

/stares grimly at a pile of SSDs that were killed by a leaking supercap/

Oh. Carry on.

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Who runs this world? Sony Pictures CEO jokes about getting UK culture minister fired

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Sony Entertainment...

...an anchor that is dragging the whole ship down.

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Let’s PULL Augmented Reality and CLIMAX with JISM

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: ARrrggh!

ARrrggh or fnAR? That is the question.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: >> well, a few graphics would help!!

Forget pictures. Playmobil is the lingua franca for Reg readership.

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Android lands on Microsoft's money-machine island fortress

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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"to get off the upgrades and support treadmill" ... "Android was the answer."

Er...um...shurely shome mishtake?

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: What a lovely piece of FUD you've written Gavin

"You realise ATMs run XP Embedded which is not XP and is still in support?"

For whopping 9 months. That ought to be enough for anyone.

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EU bods Oetti and Ansip: We must digitise EVERYTHING

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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digi digi digi digi digi

all i hear is digi and digi

meh, i need an abacus

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NO, Joe Hockey, a 'Netflix tax' wouldn't raise 'billions'

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Erm

Saying 'zillion', with a pinky in his mouth, would have been clearly intentional. For a billion, it's not so clear, and furthermore, such a claim can serve no good purpose whichever way you look at it.

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Unpatched 18-year-old Windows man-in-the-middle diddle revived

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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I tend to disable SMB on the client side, if there's no critical need for using fileshares. It has always been a bit leaky and open to abuse.

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China weaponizes its Great Firewall into the GREAT FIRE CANNON, menaces entire globe

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: its all gona get worse!

"Hon Hai ring any bells?"

Minor nitpick - it's a Taiwanese group. But they have an awful lot of operations in the mainland China, so they have to have cosy relations with the Chinese regime.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: commonly used analytics, social, or advertising scripts

Yup. Most of them are blocked by my very own Great Firewall, painstakingly construed by finding a checkbox named "Enable JavaScript" in the browser settings, and hitting it with a fury of the thousand winds. What a marvel of technological achievement.

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Russian censor warns against meme 'misuse'

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Yeah, like it worked before

Oh, yes, it was a favourite sport among intellectuals - to smuggle hidden snippets of satire past the censorship. With censorship itself being among the most prized targets.

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Because the server room is certainly no place for pets

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: So much bollocks spouted in the comments

"Give me a well built virtualised platform"

Hah. Dream on.

While we're at it, can we finally have those flying cars and frikkin-sharks-with-frikkin-lasers? Plus some nice unicorns for the tenderer species in the profession.

And, if it's not too much trouble, a new box of bingo cards, because this topic has been quite taxing on the supplies. 15 instances of the word "legacy" in a short article...there should be a law against that, or at least a fair warning for the unsuspecting readers.

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Videogame publishers to fans: Oi, freetard! STOP RESURRECTING our dead titles online

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: very fair and balanced

"Our favorite rag just wouldn't be the same if it didn't show contempt for everybody and everything, especially itself."

Well met. Everyone should get bitten fairly and equally. It's kind of implied in the mission statement.

We, the commentariat, shall not tolerate any discrimination on this count.

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The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Externalities?

Yes, external factors are hard to account for. Some of them are covered in confidentiality, like agreements with suppliers. It's not a secret that big retail operations tend to leech their suppliers pretty hard. Tax incentives are usually semi-transparent - public authorities do not like to advertise them, but cannot bury that information completely.

But there is a lot of external factors, for example a number of competitors and local producers leaving the business, that are not directly attributable nor measurable. It may well be that some of the perceived savings are covertly coming from someone else's pocket.

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'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Not surprised, but...

I'm terribly sorry, but I have to downvote your post. Despite having upvoted btrower's post at the time. His comment was emotionally toxic, but to balance it out, it was also long, informative and thought-provoking. Your comment fell a bit short on the second part.

If you're going to call people luddites, you have to have a damn good argument to support that. Namely, you'd have to show why the IoT push would end any better than previous appliance pushes - which produced untold millions of things that do not work properly, and will never be fixed, because the industry has pretty much forgotten about them. That's the problem. Industry cares about peddling "technology", "solutions", "ecosystems", "architectures", "visions", and so on, and so forth. Not the things that would actually work as promised.

And in this sense, IoT opens a new can of worms - we can expect a myriad of connected devices that present an active and increasing risk, and manufacturers caring diddly squat about them. Unconnected appliances did not pose such risks - they could be forgotten rather safely.

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SPY FRY: Smart meters EXPLODE in Californian power surge

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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"A thing nobody wants, being badly implemented, driven by the mistaken but implacable idea"

Fundamental qualities, if not prerequisites, for any large-scale project with a political support.

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Encryption is the REAL threat – Head Europlod

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: AT WHAT POINT WILL THEY STOP?

Yay, revolution. That'd make things so much better. Those nice Jacobines really cared about freedom and equality, did they. Or Lenin and his merry men.

Success stories do exist, but they are few and far between.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Yet another one? How do we get rid of him fast?

"this is likely to be a concerted effort at meme injection into the hoi polloi body"

Not very likely. Well-constructed meme wouldn't be so fucking ridiculous, but these outlashes against encryption tend to be just that. I'd rather suspect it's the Peter Principle that has provided us with so many high-ranking windbags. And sadly, there seems to be a shortage of Ostap Benders, or Sir Humphreys, to shut them up.

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Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Had the pleasure of working with Russians trained in tne 80s

"The Soviet system produced some clever, resourceful people"

It's hardly the Soviet system as such, but rather an eternal deficit of, well, everything. Rough times make people creative. And in Russia, there has never been a time that was not rough on the people.

Although an education system that was heavily biased towards industrial skills certainly played a part.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: standard economic joke about Soviet-style socialism

"it was a system to dig up the coal and ore to make steel out of which to build the machines to dig up coal and ore for steel."

That's the nicer one. Another standard joke was "steal a crate of vodka, sell it, and spend the money on getting drunk".

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Wind turbine blown away by control system vulnerability

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Oh Good Grief

That mature industry relies heavily on SCADA. Forfeit your belief, and despair.

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Dear departed Internet Explorer, how I will miss you ... NOT

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Wow.

That was one mighty rant. Or it might serve as a stylish tombstone for that notorious old bugger IE4. Like a ten-foot statue for a deceased mob boss.

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Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Devil

Re: For Markets in a Pickle and Heading for a Mass Flash Crash

"Who let you out again you fucking loon!"

Gooood. I can feel your anger. Go ahead, say what you wanted to say, reveal those things that you want to be done to him - and your journey to the Dark Side shall be complete.

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Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: ECC is not enough

Sure, all you have to do is to set the whole word (comprised of bits that are located in several physical DRAM chips) and its checksum at once - during the same RAS/CAS cycle. That way it would look like a normal write.

Good luck.

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Grab your pitchforks: Ubuntu to switch to systemd on Monday

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Can't there be a simple and effective Linux distribution?

"Systemd apparently manages X sessions"

Stunning revelation. To put it mildly.

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Weird.

30-something comments, and nobody has threatened to cancel the subscription yet? Or wanted 10 minutes of time back?

Gosh, I so hope that Mr Dabbs hasn't lost the knack.

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C’mon Lenovo. Superfish hooked, but Pokki Start Menu still roaming free

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: You can always try YumCha

"The correct Ozism for "I can't remember the brand, you've never heard of them and they'll be long gone in six months anyway" is Kung Pow."

There's another - We Con. Reserved for a very nasty stuff. Dodgy powercords that are labeled as 10 A, but their wires can barely manage 1-2 A. Power supplies that have dozens of components optimised out. Heck, who needs all those capacitors and filters and thermal resistors there.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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"It may not be the case that all monopolies are illegal, but the majority are."

He was technically correct - having a monopoly is not illegal. Company may end up being a monopoly simply because others decide to leave the market.

But abusing a monopoly position is illegal. Usually it's a temptation too great to resist, so we don't get to see benign monopolies too often.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Why are you even diagnosing this lappy?

"I have installed an official windows iso from digitalriver and registered it with the serial number printed on that microsoft sticker couple of times already. Anybody with OEM licensed windows can do the same."

Not anybody. Only those who have a sticker. Windows 8 OEM versions mostly don't. And for greater amusement, Win8 SLIC code is not usable for vanilla 8.1 media, you have to install 8.0 first and then upgrade. Again, mostly. It's complicated like hell. Sometimes you'll have to sacrifice a goat to get W8 activated.

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Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Well they would say that

And of course you would say that they would say...

Damn, that's getting complicated.

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Didn't the Left once want the WORKERS to get all the dosh?

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Stupid

But...but...Marx looked very wise, beard and all, how could he have written rubbish?

/it's an election time, have to play along/

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Captialism got rid of Racism!!

"At what point do they become evil exploiters? /.../ Is there an 'evil boss' induction ceremony they have to attend?"

It's the secret handshake. Which nobody hasn't seen (it's secret, natch), but is known to exist beyond any doubt whatsoever.

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Apple: Fine, we admit it – MacBook Pros suffer wonky GPU crapness

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Not the first time

Previous one was a soldering problem inside video chips, multi-layered sandwitches as they are. Nvidia took responsibility, after lots of wrangling, and paid reparations to computer companies. Web search on "Nvidia Bumpgate" should turn up a series of articles about that.

This time it's alleged to be between the video chip and motherboard. Not entirely same thing. That part of soldering is done on Foxconn lines. Whether it's done with a single heatblast for the entire board, or is there a separate step for GPU, can't really tell. Could be either way. Certainly looks like solder didn't turn out strong enough to withstand years of thermal stress (expansion and shrinkage cycles) around GPU. Which is painfully difficult to achieve.

In any case, Nvidia is probably out of the loop. Maybe Foxconn takes the hit this time. If it was an overlook in manufacturing. Or Apple will find that GPU cooling was a bit underspecced, which would be a design issue.

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Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Trollface

Re: cert advisory re Komodia

Thanks for the link. Especially loved the mention of ring0 rootkits.

Now that is a worthy question, the most fundamental problem of modern IT - whose rootkit do you trust, in order to keep others out? Because not having a rootkit doesn't seem to be a valid option anymore. Most security products are using shady techniques, more like 50 shades, to give us a false and perverted sense of security.

Fuckyouverymuch, purveyors of "safe computing experience". I'm going to build myself a stone abacus. Root THAT, suckers. We'll see how well you can handle a chisel.

/rant off/

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: cert advisory re Komodia

Lavasoft? Holy crap.

Alas, seems to be true. Besides their usual ad-removal tools they have this Web Companion thingamabob, where Komodia served as an SSL analysis tool. Neat. And as a cherry on the pie, there's a fuss with Comodo certs too.

arstechnica.com/security/2015/02/security-software-found-using-superfish-style-code-as-attacks-get-simpler/

Lavasoft has said that they have removed Komodia. Not sure what'll happen with Comodo.

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: @Mephistro (tl;dr)

Thanks for sharing. Looks like you had a real scam pulled on you. Sorry for the doubts and geeky behaviour (hey, grab your keyboards, somebody seems to be wrong on the Internet! :-) )

This case wouldn't be any different between US/Europe. Refusal to fix DOA products is intolerable on either side of the pond. I assumed incorrectly that capacitors failed just outside the normal warranty, which is the most typical situation. And there it starts to depend on the context - is the problem widespread enough to justify a warranty extension, what's the cost/benefit ratio, is the component supplier willing to share costs, etc. Reputable names have done it occasionally. Albeit they don't advertise it outside the partner network. Public recalls are mostly for the safety-related issues like flaming batteries and dodgy power parts.

Anyhow, there's a saying that it's the ability to handle big screw-ups that separates boys from men. Some say even this is not enough - a real man has to cause a serious blunder first, then clean it up, and learn his lessons on the way.

Let's see how present-day Lenovo handles things. At first, CTO managed to pour oil on fire, but over the weekend, they pulled an U-turn. That's slightly better than the usual "you're holding it wrong" crap we've been accustomed to.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: @Mephistro

OK, if you really managed to encounter Lenovo products in the nineties... But no, I still cannot say "fair enough" about it. There was no infamous brouhaha back then. Capacitor failures have happened since their invention, for any number of underlying reasons. And an equipment vendor that'll repair things outside the warranty period is a rare sight. Must be a truly known and endemic issue (like it was in 200x) to get free service.

15-20 years is a very long time. Technologies have changed, product lines have came and gone, companies have changed. For better or worse, as the case may be. By such absolutist standards we shouldn't buy anything from anybody, ever. Because I really can't name a worldwide brand where I haven't seen a blown capacitor. Must've replaced thousands of little buggers over time.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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@Mephistro

"I haven't purchased or advised to purchase any Lenovo kit since the infamous brouhaha with the bubbling capacitors in the nineties."

You what?! We're giving Lenovo a good bollocking for the things they do, but you managed to spoil the fun with just one sentence.

- Lenovo was entirely unheard of in the nineties.

- First capacitor plague started around 2000, low-esr.com had a good article about it in 2002. Basically, a good half of the Taiwanese cap production was rubbish because of badly copied chemical composition. Fascinating story, actually, if anyone can be arsed to look it up.

- Second wave was a Chinese production in late 2000's. This time it included a lot of "mislabeled" caps (like having a 16uF cap in a bigger 47uF barrel), and counterfeits of the reputable names like Sanyo. Besides the usual noname business.

- In both waves, affected caps ended up pretty much everywhere. In PSU's, monitors, motherboards, etc, all over the world.

Well, besides these two major plague-like events, there have been lesser screw-ups every now and then. These are not so remarkable. It's quite easy to kill an electrolyte capacitor, if you don't leave a sufficient safety margin for it.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Disclaimer on a coffee cup: "Warning! Our coffee is so delicious that it may cause an addiction. Oh, and it's hot, too."

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: I won't be buying Lenovo or ASUS.....

There are always examples and counterexamples. Asus U35 happens to be well-engineered. Had to take one apart after a domestic accident, it was a pleasant surprise. Still works, too.

Basically, brand doesn't mean much, all mentioned companies have produced lemons every now and then.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: They shot themselves in the head

"It is unlikely the Server side of Lenovo will suffer from the Consumer laptops being infected with a security threat "

Not directly. But with clueless people at the helm, they'll bork something in servers sooner or later. Remote management cards are a prime example here. Their security sucks industry-wide. Thought that it could get even worse isn't exactly comforting. Then there's management software that all vendors are so keen to push, often claiming that only their own shitware is supported for management purposes.

Enterprise customers are able to identify threats, at least mostly, and put up a good fight. But small business just doesn't have means for it.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: "Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

That's not a problem. Now THIS is a problem.

Seriously, if a corporate CTO can claim with a straight face that there's no security problem...they do deserve all the ridicule they're getting, and a good punch in the wallet.

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Colour me sceptical

"But if those temporary files are on a B1 or similar secure system"

There they are probably subject to same access restrictions as normal files. I was thinking about raw volume-level copies, like storage system snapshots. If (and that's a big if, as we can only use speculation and educated guesses on this matter) these copies will be mounted to a different server, which doesn't quite honour the restriction system? Or an extra duplicate gets made somewhere on the way? Point is, restrictions embedded into the data are not sufficient. Backup and test systems have to have a similar level of scrutiny than production ones. But rarely have.

A crude example closer to home. If I can get a volume dump from a Windows machine, I can happily mount this volume via Linux ntfs-3g driver, and presto - Windows ACL's that are set on files are ignored, all files, including ntuser.dat files, are readable. And nothing gets logged into the Windows audit log. Therefore a good chunk of normal security measures are already bypassed.

Oh, well. Whatever security measures you can think of - they are not absolute. There are plenty of cracks for a BOFH to slip through. And if they're not wide enough, a stolen bulldozer will help.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Colour me sceptical

"You can back up the files and do sysadmin stuff without needing to be able to read the data"

Well, yes, but there is a part that's frequently overlooked. Temporary copies that are routinely created and destroyed. Quite a lot can happen to these copies during their short lifetime, without anyone really noticing.

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Colour me sceptical

Database dumps can be a real treasure trove. And usual tricks like access restrictions and audit trails may not be effective against an admin, whose daily job is to juggle short-lived database copies around.

It is a good thing to be sceptical, asking questions and seeking answers. If the intentions are honourable and the questions are fair. Are they?

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Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: Does anyone still think this is only about terrorism? ...Its just too big a dragnet...

"most intelligence services are doing it and those that aren't well they want to"

Heh. That would make a nice comedy sketch. "Because we currently lack technical means to record phonecalls, we kindly ask you to record all your phonecalls, and mail the tapes to the aforementioned address. CD and MP3 formats are also accepted. Thank you for your cooperation, citizen."

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Superfish: Lenovo ditches adware, but that doesn't fix SSL megavuln – researcher

Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
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Re: or to serve as an expert in legal proceedings.

Probably so. Jury trial is supposed to be a 'common sense' test, so selection process should filter out anyone who's not so common. And remove people with a clear bias or prejudice. How's that working in practice, I wouldn't know, haven't seen it close up. Probably less than perfectly, as jury foreman in Apple vs Samsung so aptly demonstrated. He got away with playing an "expert" during a jury session.

Yes, some experts can be outright scary. Highly educated (which is kind of a requirement), highly decorated, and able to talk utter bollocks with a confidence.

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