* Posts by Richard Boyce

233 posts • joined 8 Aug 2007

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Virgin Media spoof email mystery: Customers take to Facebook

Richard Boyce
Facepalm

Reliance on broadband provider for email

Why would someone who is IT-savvy remain reliant on a Virgin email address for 20+ years? He should've bitten the bullet and migrated email away from his broadband provider a long time ago, either to a Google address (or similar) or, better still, a domain of his own which can be hosted anywhere. Better late than never.

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German Chancellor fires hydrogen plasma with the push of a button

Richard Boyce
Joke

Be afraid

I have noted that this discussion involving very long german words has attracted some posters with very long user names without even the occassional upper case letter to assist the reader.

This appears to be strong evidence that disgustedoftunbridgewells and allthecoolshortnamesweretaken are sleeper agents among us just waiting for the day when this ubertechnology will make germans proud again.

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Linode: Back at last after ten days of hell

Richard Boyce

How much does it cost an attacker these days to launch a large-scale attack? What's the going rate per Gbit of DDoS?

I'm guessing that the majority of major ISPs still allow outgoing traffic with spoofed IP addresses. If only politicians worked less to undermine security, and started mandating that ISPs install filters to block spoofed traffic instead of mandating that they spend money on filters to direct traffic to politicians.

All a bit depressing, really.

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Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Richard Boyce
Facepalm

Idiocracy

Seeing these politicians so out of their technology depth reminds me of a film called Idiocracy where two ordinary people hibernate for 500 years and then find themselves the smartest people alive. One ends up as president.

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Tor wars: CMU says FBI came not with cash, but a subpoena

Richard Boyce

The thoughtless leading the learned

So the researchers acknowledge doing government-funded reseach. Nothing wrong with that on its own. However, the concern is that the US government may have employed people to engage in a fishing expedition that unreasonably threatened the innocent as well as the guilty, without probable cause. Issuing a subpoena to get the results of the research you've paid for could be a cover-your-ass legality.

I wish there were as much concern about this here in the UK, as our non-computer literate leaders plan to legislate how things must work. I wonder if our government will one day be as much of a laughing stock as the US politicians who once legislated that the value if Pi is exactly 3....

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Virgin Media hikes broadband, phone prices by five per cent

Richard Boyce

USO, PSTN and SIP.

I'm with Virgin and have been trying to reduce my costs by ditching the PSTN landline for a couple of years. I've been happily using a SIP adapter on my ordinary desktop phone for many years, so I really don't need Virgin's phone service. The trouble is, Virgin charge more if you ditch the phone. That's both for new customers and for existing customers negotiating a discount. This reflects the absence of competition.

The major telecom players just make too much money from the charges they've persuaded Ofcom to mandate, and with the call charges for initial connection, distance and time, as if they weren't using the global IP networks to distribute calls. Heaven forbid that too many customers could do that for themselves as easily and cheaply as they visit a web site on the other side of the planet.

The government's been tallking about a USO for broadband. What about also making it mandatory to offer SIP VoIP services too, while also removing the USO on providing the old PSTN service.

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Patent and trademark troll stung for £500k after fake renewal blitz

Richard Boyce

Have an upvote. I see no deterrence in this judgement.

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7 million Apple Watches just buried the competition – Canalys

Richard Boyce

How many will buy a second Watch?

The iPhone is a success because a lot of customers replace iPhones with iPhones. We've yet to see how many people will buy a second Watch.

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Lithium-air: A battery breakthrough explained

Richard Boyce

Balancing

My niece has just been learning how to balance chemical equations. I think that could've been usefully done in those diagrams.

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The battle of Cupertino: Jailbreakers do it for freedom, not cash

Richard Boyce

Re: Many heads are better

It's Apple's object code that's getting the scrutiny. A lot harder, but they're getting results which Apple are using to improve the source code.

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Richard Boyce

Many heads are better

I imagine that Apple is quietly very happy with the free scrutiny that their code is being given.

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No, seriously, NASA will fly a probe through Saturn's moon plumes

Richard Boyce

Contamination

NASA generally goes to great lengths to avoid contaminating ET life with life from Earth. It would be unfortunate if this manoevre ended up contaminating life in the clouds of Saturn with life from Enceladus.

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Apple may face $900m bill after A7 CPU in iPhones, iPads ripped off university's patent

Richard Boyce

ARM?

AFAIK, Apple's A7 is based on ARM processors. To what extent does this decision affect other users of ARM processors? How do later Apple processors avoid infringement?

I guess I'll have to read about this decision more widely. Hopefully, the article will be updated later to better cover the implications.

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Tear teardown down, roars Apple: iFixit app yanked from store

Richard Boyce

TANSTAAFL

If you're offered a special arrangement, even for a short time, always check for gotchas in the T&Cs.

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Roku 4 specs leak: Yes, it's got 4K streaming and a games controller

Richard Boyce
Joke

750K

"Supports Games < 750K: Yes

Supports Games > 750K: Yes"

Why no support for 750K?

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iPhone 6S, 6S Plus: Apple SHAFTS eager fans with STRAPPING VIBRATOR

Richard Boyce

Re: Well that's just grand!

Assuming 20% remaining after a day's use when new, how long before degradation of the battery reduces that margin to 0%? How much does dissatisfaction with deterioating battery life reduce the average time between phone replacements?

Genuine questions, as I've never been a heavy user of smartphones, and never owned a high-end model like an iPhone.

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Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California

Richard Boyce

Re: Unintended consequences

So have you considered running for office?

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Loan application data hacked, company responds: Meh, not our customers

Richard Boyce

Re: "What that group did is illegal . . ."

... and I'm sure they'll delete the data upon payment too.

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Mobe encryption guru Charles Brookson picks up OBE from the Queen

Richard Boyce
Unhappy

When strong crypto is considered bad by the government...

...it makes an honour from the government for cryptography quite suspect. Which is quite sad.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

Excellent article

It's not easy to cover important technicalities with brevity and clarity, but you managed it. Nevertheless, prejudice and ignorance is hard to do battle with.

There will also be people who say 192kHz sampling is better than 96kHz, and look for more. There will be dealers who are financially dependent on doing things like selling £100 analogue cables for transferring CD audio from player to amp.

"Want to hear the difference? No problem. Use your ears..... See? You get what you pay for. SO much better than using a cheap digital cable. That'll be £100, please. So happy to have a discerning customer."

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US SaaS firm bows to Snowden concerns with UK-based datacentre

Richard Boyce

I know you're not completely serious (at least I hope not), but I suspect that the biggest physical problem might be getting rid of the waste heat.

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Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

Richard Boyce

What's being talked about behind the scenes?

This attempt to affect public opinion may be the result of a hidden debate that's going on, and it's probably a wider debate than the things that have been in the news lately.

I'm not familiar with U.S. law, but if it's possible for the president to offer Snowden an immunity agreement in exchange for living quietly in the U.S., I think it would be a very popular decision with the public in many countries. People in the U.S. might be more inclined to vote for another Democratic president.

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Bill Nye's bonkers LightSail spaceship unfurls solar sails at last

Richard Boyce

Energy vs momentum

The sail isn't for harvesting energy from the sun (that's plentiful near Earth), it's for harvesting momentum, which you need to change speed and/or direction.

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Acer: 'We will be the last man standing in the PC industry'

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

Touchpad

My current laptop has a non-centred touchpad, like many of these models. I have found that to be an ergonomic nightmare. Never again.

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Default admin password, weak Wi-Fi, open USB ports ... no wonder these electronic voting boxes are now BANNED

Richard Boyce

Re: Bottom line

"... walk away with theirs stuffed full of cash"

and votes for sale.

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NASA: We're gonna rip up an ASTEROID and make it ORBIT the MOON

Richard Boyce
Mushroom

Redirection indeed

No doubt there are some Generals salivating at the prospect of redirecting a large object to Moscow or Washington or wherever, in a way that's plausibly an "Act of God", and with no radioactive fallout to worry about.

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Hawk like an Egyptian: Google is HOPPING MAD over fake SSL certs

Richard Boyce
FAIL

Bye bye CNNIC

The best response is to ask if you need to trust CNNIC. I've distrusted them in my browser and I'll see if that has consequences for me. Unlikely.

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Marlinspike brings end-to-end crypto texts to iOS

Richard Boyce

re: wow!

Signal is compatible with its siblings RedPhone and TextSecure on Android, and those two are about to be combined into one app. So, if you currently use Android, you're ready to go.

The software is published, so there will be plenty of scrutiny of the security.

.

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Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Richard Boyce

Not just Lenovo

The term "Lenovo applications" can mean anything they'll tie their devalued brand name to. It may just mean that they'll copy what Samsung does with their devices, adding lots of "Samsung" apps that want permission to monitor you, won't take no for a final answer, and which you're not allowed to uninstall.

A similar security scandal involving Android devices is probably overdue.

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ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Richard Boyce
Happy

Re: Nah, we're safe

I think we can relax. Alexander Zaitsev will have sensibly pocketed the cash from the idiots and laughed all the way to the bank.

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Lizard Squad threatens Malaysia Airlines with data dump: We DID TOO hack your site

Richard Boyce

I admit I laughed

These immature people deserve what they will get, but I do admit I laughed out loud when I read the 404 joke.

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Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz

Richard Boyce

Warranty is key indicator

Even consumers will respond badly to a 40% annual failure rate, and many do use the drives 24/7. That sort of thing poisons the value of the brand.

As usual, check the warranty that's offered with a drive before purchase, particularly with the highest density drives. If the manufacturer offers the minimum warranty, expect minimum lifetime.

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Richard Boyce

Re: If only..

We need to eliminate the storage of a large amount of energy in the vehicle. Perhaps one day, roads will have built-in superconductors to supply energy to vehicles via induction. Then you'd need only enough energy to get to a major road.

However, the advent of the aforesaid superconductors would probably change everything else beyond recognition, and the era of driving yourself in your own vehicle might draw to a close.

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4K off, Google Fiber: Comcast, Broadcom tout 2Gbps cable

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

IP broadcasts

The existing video cable transmission system sends potentially hundreds of channels simultaneously to each customer, despite no one and no device watching the vast majority of them at any one instant. As a consequence, when you do want to watch something, you see it aggressively compressed with consequent loss of picture quality.

So, the cable companies should switch to using IP transmission exclusively, transmitting only those streams that are wanted. The consumer can get better picture quality because of less compression, and the cable company can start to offer even more shopping channels. Of course, if we had better quality HD available for every channel, we might be less inclined to pay extra for 4K, and they know that.

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SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

Richard Boyce

Centripetal?

No comments about this yet, so maybe I have this wrong, but...

Isn't the fuel taken to the sides of the tank by centrifugal force, i.e. a force away from the centre? If so, centripetal force would be the reaction from the tank that stopped the fuel going further out.

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ICANN HACKED: Intruders poke around global DNS innards

Richard Boyce

Always easy to throw stones at end users

If your wife were hit with a well-constructed spear while she was tired, the attack might succeed. If you insist on black and white behaviour, use a machine.

ICANN should be employing a lot of machinery to protect people from themselves.

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'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Richard Boyce

Static addresses

It would be helpful for both law enforcement and customers, if broadband customers were always given a static IPv4 address plus a group of static IPv6 addresses for as long as they were customers, as with PSTN phone lines.

I note that some (perhaps many?) of the ISP-provided routers have firmware that conspicuously lacks support for DDNS services or supports only one professional DDNS service. ISPs really don't want to encourage VoIP services, which could explode if static addresses were widely available to the average residential customer, OFCOM permitting Or maybe despite regulation.

So what we have here is a battle between ISPs and government, who all want to maximise their control and use of the customer, some for commercial purposes, some for political purposes.

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BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity

Richard Boyce
Thumb Up

A breath of fresh rationality

amidst the professionally-produced bullshit we see so much of in the media.

Thank you.

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New GCHQ spymaster: US tech giants are 'command and control networks for TERROR'

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

Re: well said Evil Auditor

I think most of the world would disagree with you. Our freedoms in the UK are a very new thing in the UK, by historical standards. We have those freedoms not because of government but despite government.

Even today, we have a Home Secretary who will abuse our terrorism laws to detain the relative of a journalist who has politically valuable information. I suspect that, if she weren't restrained by publicity and possible legal challenges, she would have held him as long as it took to get what she wanted.

I view Robert Hannigan's article as a political signal that he's on-message, and equally prepared to abuse and stoke fears of terrorism and child abuse, as if these were the primary physical threats to our people.

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BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast

Richard Boyce

"The Apollo program went through an incremental, lengthy test series of every piece of hardware"

Not true, there was a race on to beat Kennedy's deadline and beat the Russians. However, the deaths of three astronauts did concentrate some minds.

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Richard Boyce

40 years ago, money was no object.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

Entertainment and Devices

By this standard, the Entertainment and Devices division is not a successful business. Far from it. Current Xbox sales are not profitable enough to pay back all the previous losses on Xbox. Now Surface is repeating the same pattern.

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You get what you pay for: Kingston's SSDNow V310 960GB whopper

Richard Boyce
WTF?

Contradiction

Doesn't the final verdict rather contradict the title?

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Sky's tech bets pay off: Pay TV firm unveils blazing growth for Q1

Richard Boyce

Re: support 4k?

The more shopping channels they can squeeze in the better, from their point of view. Also, anyone who complains is required to do so by telephone, whereupon they can be advised to solve the problem by upgrading.

I hate to imagine the quality of current SD broadcasts from Sky. I have to imagine as I switched to Freesat HD after 12 months, as planned, and now had the dish I needed. Freeview was not an option where I live at the time.

Many people are persuaded to believe that it's digital, so it must be high quality. Few people understand that with analogue, the transmission quality was fixed at quite a high quality standard (for SD), and that the reception was potentially dodgy. With digital, it's essentially the other way around.

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Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so

Richard Boyce

Re: $5,000

I meant plaintiffs, not defendants.

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Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

$5,000

So how much did the lawyers get? The figures suggest about $7 million. I wouldn't be surprised if the suit was their idea and they then went on a short hunt for someone willing to play the part of the wronged idiot.

In the UK, we have a system where defendants can be made offers, such that if they win, but fail to win more than was offered, they're liable for all legals costs after the offer. I doubt such cases would get so expensive in the UK. I am not a lawyer.

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Apple finally patches Bash Shellshock vuln that WAS NOT A WORRY, OK?

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

Not available

Not available to me here in the UK, yet. Maybe the update's been pulled to apply a patch to the patch. Maybe the recent update to Mavericks broke more than TextEdit and Preview on my Mac, also breaking Software Update.

Maybe Apple will one day stop breaking as much as they fix. Grrr.

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WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Richard Boyce
Unhappy

IPSO

I read elsewhere that Mark Pritchard MP (one of the others being targeted) said he would contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

That's the insiders' two-fingers-up-to-Leveson-and-public-opinion organisation. Should this MP also resign because of gross naivity? Maybe he's trying to hasten the end of IPSO? I think we can't rely on MPs to help with that, just the opposite. It's probably going to require another child victim, unfortunately.

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

Richard Boyce

Re: Yes and no...

If it's unreliable, take it back to the retailer, or at least let the retailer know that you're unhappy.

Whatever the price, products must be fit for purpose. Cheap products are not a licence to rip off the customer. Retailers who want repeat custom are likely to be sensitive to complaints about products that are more trouble than they're worth.

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