* Posts by Scott Wheeler

79 posts • joined 13 Sep 2007

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POW: Smut-seeding copyright troll slammed as 'extortionate'

Scott Wheeler

Criminal?

Isn't this straightforward blackmail, and hence a criminal offence?

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Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

Scott Wheeler

Re: How severe does the 'crash' need to be..

> As a bonus, there is a summary of the privacy considerations contained in the technical document above.

Thanks - this is exactly what we needed to see. So to summarise the document: the device is not registered with any network until an accident occurs. This is more stringent than not having a data connection open: the device will not have a way to receive incoming calls, data or SMS. [This should preclude its use for bugging or tracking, including use by insurance or road-use based taxes]. The device will not retain more data than is necessary to establish the current position and the direction of travel - older data will be discarded. All of this being subject to possible change in the final requirement.

In summary, it seems to be designed with privacy in mind, and to be resistant to abuse by state agencies. While I would rather not have one, this appears to be a Germanic product - safety conscious, and also very cautious about the potential for mis-use.

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Scott Wheeler

Re: FORD SYNC

> My iPhone tracks my every move in much more detail anyway, who cares if the car is doing it too!?

Your iPhone tracks you because you have allowed it to do so. Mine doesn't because I've turned off that option.

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US military SATELLITE suddenly BLOWS UP: 'Temperature spike' blamed

Scott Wheeler

They have already demonstrated the capability to destroy an old satellite, so it would appear that either this is not a treaty violation or they don't care: more likely the former I would say.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Scott Wheeler

Re: Microsoft hardware

> You would simply find that an Apple device is all but unusable if you deny it the chance to phone home with a far more comprehensive set of personal data.

No it isn't - that's exactly what I do, using Little Snitch. In any case, Macs don't do MITM attacks on HTTPS sessions. They are far from perfect, but on both Windows and Mac it's still usually possible to prevent sw phoning home.

However I do agree with you that a Mac will attempt to phone home much more than I am happy with.

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Ferraris, Zondas and ... er, a bike with a 500hp V10 under the saddle

Scott Wheeler

Re: fugly

> Wrestling a V10 down a motorway seems an utterly pointless exercise, and on a racetrack it would be doubly so due to bends.

The bike was build by Adam Millyard a few years back. As with all his bikes, it's a real road-going bike, not a design freak. I've seen him ride it down single track road to the West Hagbourne bike night. It's a lot more practical than the donor Viper car. The fact that it does 207mph is neither here not there.

You'd probably prefer his latest creation, the Flying Millyard, a 5L V-twin minimally based on a big aircraft radial. It's hard-tailed, has manual mixture and advance/retard, and requires kick-starting - which I've seen him do. Or is that removing too much complication and weight for your taste?

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Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

Scott Wheeler

Re: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.

NCP could only address 256 hosts. It's hardly a comparable problem to changing an Internet standard today.

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Speaking in Tech: 'Software-defined' anything makes me BARF in my MOUTH

Scott Wheeler

Please take that phrase out and shoot it. And I'm not talking about "software defined".

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AV for Mac

Scott Wheeler

Re: Impossible.

Al fazed:

The computer is a Mac (i.e. Macintosh) not a MAC. The company is Apple, not MAC. Given this level of knowledge, perhaps you'll understand if I ask for a source for your assertion that:

> thousands of users and administrators contacting MAC tech support asking for help with, what turned out to be .... a virus.

Are you perhaps thinking of other forms of malware, such as a Trojan?

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TrueCrypt turmoil latest: Bruce Schneier reveals what he'll use instead

Scott Wheeler

Re: Whoa there

> Furthermore, Bitlocker requires TPM hardware

No it doesn't. It will use it if available, but it runs fine without it.

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MPs blast HMRC for using anti-terrorism laws against whistleblower

Scott Wheeler

Re: Lawmakers and the law

As far as I know, RIPA was not justified on the basis of counter-terrorism. It's simply there to define which authorities can require interception, and what authorisation they require for it - and this has always included use for criminal investigation. A RIPA-type law was clearly needed as prior to that it was ambiguous who had the right to intercepts, which could lead to abuse. Of course it's possible to argue that it permits interception too easily (and I would agree with this), but that doesn't argue against the need to define the legal framework for interception.

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Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

Scott Wheeler

Except that following DB Cooper, the planes have been designed to prevent parachuting out of them.

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

Scott Wheeler

That sort of thing is what I'm worried about with this "authentication". While it's unlikely that they use RFID because the coins are metal, I'm concerned that they may give coins individual identification, which will make cash transactions trackable.

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Spend zero notes to take all notes with OneNote: Microsoft makes app free, builds it for OS X

Scott Wheeler

No local storage on Mac version

You have to use Microsoft's Skydrive on the Mac version - no way avoid your content going on to their servers. I can't use it for this reason. While I prefer OneNote on the PC to Evernote, at least Evernote allows local storage.

Mac OneNote also missing a significant amount of other stuff which I happen to use - for instance the "Print to OneNote" function has gone. On a PC I'm in the habit of printing large docs to OneNote, putting the image in the background, then writing notes over the top. This won't be used by everyone, but it was important to me.

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DARPA: You didn't think we could make a Mach 6 spaceplane, so let us have this MACH TEN job

Scott Wheeler

Re: Once something become possible

> Basic nukes aren't hard. They require zero engineering experience (for a gun-type nuke.)

Ok, that means you need U235. Do you know of an easy way to get that?

Do you need an initiator for your design? What will you make it of, and how large is it?

What is your critical mass? What amount of explosive do you need in the gun to avoid a squib explosion? Is there any danger of the explosive shattering the uranium that it is propelling?

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iPhone 5S: Fanbois, your prints are safe from the NSA, claim infosec bods

Scott Wheeler

Re: Pinky

> everything on the iPhone (except the fingerprint, of course) is in the clouds

Speak for yourself. I don't use cloud storage, and I don't use Siri (because it would upload my contacts). You may be happy living in the panopticon, but you don't speak for everyone.

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Steelie Neelie calls for TOTAL BAN on EU mobe roaming charges

Scott Wheeler

Unintended consequences

I work for a large international mobile phone company. I think this would probably work well for us: we can do cheap roaming on our own footprint anyway (and have some pretty good deals to encourage it). However it looks to me as though this will kill smaller companies: they will have to pay a roaming partner (perhaps at a reduced rate) while not being able to recover the costs. This is particularly true of MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) who use the infrastructure of MNOs (the big companies). Some of them are tiny - a few thousand users. Basically this looks good for the big incumbents, bad for others.

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Xerox copier flaw changes numbers in scanned docs

Scott Wheeler
FAIL

Re: RTFM

A) Users don't have the manual; B) Users don't have the admin privileges to raise the scan resolution; C) A bug like this should be fixed, not documented as a "feature".

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Two more counties to get gov-funded bumpkin broadband from... guess?

Scott Wheeler

Why do you always refer to anyone living outside the Great Wen as a bumpkin? Were you frightened by a cow-pat at an impresionable age?

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USB accelerates to 10 Gbps

Scott Wheeler

Re: Potential

It turns out that running network protocols over USB is already used. Many 3G USB "modems" are actually routers, and also run a small web server on the device to control the router functionality. However I agree with the general point that replacing physical Ethernet cables with USB is not obviously a good idea.

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MS brandishes 'Katana' HTTP/2.0 server

Scott Wheeler

Does anyone know whether it will support SCTP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCTP) transport in addition to TCP? SCTP is a protocol at the level of TCP or UDP which is intended for just this sort of message stream. It's extensively used in the telecoms world for signalling, but is not supported on Windows without a 3rd party driver.

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Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Re: if it aint broke....

> BTW I believe DLR run a PDP11 in every single train.

I think it's an 8080 running Forth, from memory.

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How did something so small and pink cause so much trouble?

Scott Wheeler

> After having carried a Hong Kong ID card for a few years now....I'm all for it, provided the cost isn't absurd. Very convenient.

Even more convenient *not* to carry an ID card.

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Scott Wheeler

Re: Tyranny

> And yet strangely France is one of the countries where ID cards aren't compulsory.

Up to a point. You are not required to carry it, but if you don't, you can be held for up to three days while someone fetches it for you.

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Hotel marketplace Airbnb: Show us your privates if you want to book a bed

Scott Wheeler

Bear in mind that most continental hotels will require a photocopy of your passport when you turn up, so that information is going to leak in any case if you're travelling in Europe.

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Firefox 'death sentence' threat to TeliaSonera over gov spy claims

Scott Wheeler

Re: CAs

DNSSEC itself relies on the DNS records being signed, and hence on the integrity of the CA chain. So no, it doesn't appear that verifying web certificates using information carried by DNS will help.

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Office for Mac 2008 support umbilical chopped off

Scott Wheeler

Re: History son, history!

> MS really need to sort out the backup problems with Outlook for Mac (effectively, you can't) , although we know they won't, don't we!

MS need to sort out Outlook backup, full stop. At some stage long ago, someone had the bright idea that everything should be in a database on Windows. Admittedly, that was the orthodoxy of computer science at the time, and Windows was supposed to be changing to a database file system (WinFS). That left us with gigabyte .PST and .OST files rather than small files that could be individually backed up: a problem for both MacOS and Windows.

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Scott Wheeler
Thumb Down

Re: OneNote, Access and Publisher?

> And OneNote is ably replicated in the Word for Mac Notebook view.

Oh, rubbish. I use both. Notebook view is better than nothing, but it's missing about 95% of the functionality of OneNote. It's basically good for banging out indented pure text notes in linear sequence, with perhaps ten pages in a "notebook". Push it beyond that and it's very poor even for the features it is supposed to implement. It also has problems with its rendering, so that you can find that a chunk of text simply doesn't display: this is absolutely fundamental functionality which does not work reliably. A couple of weeks ago I even managed to corrupt a document by moving a notepad tab (i.e. a section), so that if I tried to display that section, Word would lock up. The only reason I use it is because the small number of things that it does do happen to correspond to one job I do on a Mac every 2-3 weeks, and I want to use Word to be able to read the documents a few years on. I'm not a great fan of Evernote compared to OneNote, but for most purposes it is a country mile better than notebook view.

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Giant solar-powered aircraft to begin cross-country flight

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Re video: a small point, but I wish the USAians wouldn't keep flagging up Lindbergh as the first to fly the Atlantic. The first non-stop heavier than air flight was by Alcock and Brown. Lindbergh did the first solo (and had a more elegant landing).

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Microsoft unwraps sysadmin-friendly Office 365 for biz update

Scott Wheeler

Re: TL:DR

MS Word is not a copy of Word Perfect; Word Perfect is not a copy of Wordstar. Unless you consider the concept of a non-modal screen editor to be innovative

MS Excel is not a copy of Lotus123; Visicalc had some dependence on Visicalc, but was very different.

MS Access is not a copy of dBase. Did you ever use dBase?

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Nokia wants to build the Google of human behaviour - and share it

Scott Wheeler
Stop

> “Where do people go at 10pm after a movie? It’s about building up these kinds of connections.”

Nope. And to be clear, this is not just about what they do with the data, or which third parties have access to it.

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Open source app can detect text's authors

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Old hat

This was in use at least 40 years ago for analysing Biblical texts. Other than it being open source, I don't see anything new.

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Phone-bonker Bump tells desktop users: We swing both ways now

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Ad-hoc WiFi is used to offer a tethered 3G connection on iPhones - but that's the only use I can think of for it.

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Sick software nasty uses child abuse pics to extort infected victims

Scott Wheeler

Re: I think the only solution here is DBANing the drives.

However, if you report CP on your disk, expect to see some repercussions if you ever need a CRB2 check, which is based on suspicion and rumour as well as criminal record.

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Brit 2.5-tonne nuke calculator is World's Oldest Working Computer

Scott Wheeler

Re: "Oldest Working Computer" - stop on exception

> Any of the elderly (*human*) "computers" still "working"?

Probably not, but I know one who is in her mid 70s.

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Entire Reg readership would fill 205 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Scott Wheeler
Holmes

Jokkmokk?

Popn 2500 - only reason I know of it is because it's on the Kungsleden long distance path.

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Facebook: 'No merit' to claim we broke German privacy law

Scott Wheeler

> Under UK law you are allowed to go by a pseudonym, as long as you maintain documentation of your real name.

As I understand it, legally it is (or was) the other way around. The name that you are known by is your "real" name. Changing your name by deed poll is a recognition that you are already known by that name, and allows you to update your official documentation.

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Mystery X-37B robot spaceplane returns to orbit on Tuesday

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Re: Hovering over China?

A way to get the effect of long dwell time over China is by using a Molniya orbit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molniya_orbit). That's a highly elliptical, highly inclined orbit with the apogee (furthest away from Earth, and hence slowest moving) in the northern hemisphere. Although the orbits the Russians use for their Molniya satellites have a six hour period, you could use a one day orbit to put the satellite consistently within sight of China for most of its orbital period.

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Use a Mac? For actual work? Evernote Business has arrived

Scott Wheeler
Meh

Enterprisey?

I use both Evernote and OneNote, and I develop enterprise products. I'd say that OneNote is much more enterprise friendly in that it is trivial to host shared notebooks on companies' existing MS infrastructure - no need to use a cloud-based solution, which is often a blocker.

Having said that, I've yet to meet someone who uses shared notebooks. Are they a solution in search of a problem?

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Einstein almost tagged dark energy in the early 1920s

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Re: Huh?

> A variable constant? That's revolutionary maths right there!!

No, it's cromulent.

The cosmological constant arises as a "constant of integration", i.e. there's an equation, and Einstein integrated both sides of it by some variable (sorry, I don't remember which off hand). When you do this, you get a new equation where you introduce a "constant". This means it's a value which doesn't depend on the variable you are integrating by. It may well depend on some other variable, or it could be a fixed number, but in this context you call it a constant of integration. The interesting point is that the process gives you no information at all about the value of that constant.

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World's oldest digital computer successfully reboots

Scott Wheeler
Childcatcher

Re: Note that *accuracy* prized over speed

> This is a a *true* decimal computer with counting by 10's built (literally) into the hardware.

Still true of modern PCs and Macs! Some 8-bit BCD instructions are buried in the 8086 instruction layer of Intel-family processors.

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Malware made which can share a smartcard over the internet

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

@Arachnoid

> I'm surprised no one as yet has tried introducing code via an infected smart card

Although smartcards do have something analogous to files and directories, PC/SC smartcard drivers won't allow you to mount the file systems on a PC. More importantly, there is an ornate privilege mechanism which would usually stop you creating or writing to files without provisioning keys specific to that particular smartcard. Also smartcards generally have only a tiny amount of unused storage, of the order of 2-4kB.

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So you broke our encrypted files? Ha! They were DOUBLY encrypted

Scott Wheeler
Facepalm

Re: Wrong solution

Don't assume that a service provider doesn't hold your keys unless you have a means of proving that they never had them.

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Metric versus imperial: Reg readers weigh in

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

SI is great if you have to do any conversions between units as you do in engineering, but in daily life we don't do that. I don't need to know the mass of five pints of beer in pounds, or to determine how much its temperature will rise in Fahrenheit if I apply 5BTU of heat. It's a pint: all I need to know is how much it costs.

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British Library tracks rise and fall of file formats

Scott Wheeler

Definition of HTML version?

Successive HTML versions are almost entirely supersets of the earlier versions, and if you are writing a simple page, you may have no reason to use the more advanced facilities of the later versions. So are the server test pages I put up last week obsolete HTML 2.0 because I use nothing more advanced than posting to a CGI script? Surely not: this has nothing to tell us about information loss and is unrelated to any discussion of old word processor file formats.

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Google Wallet: Rub our button, cough 15p for quick read

Scott Wheeler
Thumb Down

Nope.

The idea is not bad, but there's no way I'd give my credit card number to Google. I'm not worried about false charges (well actually I would be worried, given their lack of customer care services, and that you'd probably have to give then "continuous payment authority" which is a devil to cancel). No, the problem is that they will immediately do the same thing as in the web space: use that number to track a unique and identified purchaser and build a profile. They would probably offer some service analagous to Google Analytics as well whereby third parties would send information about credit card transactions to them for analysis. No thanks, I have no wish to live in a goldfish bowl.

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Governments block YouTube over that video

Scott Wheeler
Thumb Down

Re: Jesus-H-Christ

You say more wars have been fought over religion than any other form of dispute. Prove it.

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Final Office 2013 for ARM may not ship until January

Scott Wheeler

Re: Oh, you have it wrong ..

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I couldn't find a way to add a generic IMAP account into the TIFKAM email app which came with WinRT on the Samsung device I've being looking at. I don't have it with me at the moment, but from memory I thought you could only add in accounts from one or two providers like Google.

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Ding dong, the Ping is dead! Apple brings in Facebook for iTunes

Scott Wheeler
Stop

Can this be disabled?

I don't allow my personal information on to cloud services, with the exception of Kindle reading position sync. I don't sync photos, I don't use Siri, I don't use cloud document storage. Facebook is the last company I want anything to do with. I'm quite concerned that the "off switches" for some of these activites will disappear.

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Online bank punters tricked into approving theft of their OWN CASH

Scott Wheeler
Headmaster

Re: Stupidity is a luxury

SMS is a reasonably secure transport, but it relies on the handset being trustworthy. In the past two important phones (Nokia 6210i and Ericsson T610, I think) had Bluetooth bugs such that it was possible to pair with them without authentication, then read and delete an SMS without the user's knowledge. These days there may be other vulnerabilities introduced by Smartphones with malware installed, which could allow receiving and manipulating SMS from a distance.

I don't want to give the impression that SMS authentication is a bad method: it isn't, particularly if it is part of two-factor authentication. However as with most methods, it cannot be seen as a silver bullet.

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