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* Posts by John Savard

1252 posts • joined 18 Sep 2007

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HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat

John Savard
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GPS

How devilishly clever of the North Koreans to demonstrate their ability to jam GPS signals - or to test their ability to jam GPS signals - on South Korean ships during a military exercise. Not.

Now the U.S. knows they have this ability, and will be working on countermeasures, which will no doubt be ready in time for when such an ability might have proved actually useful.

Of course, possibly North Korea had an immediate tactical goal, such as trying to get one of those South Korean vessels to sail into their waters as a "provocation", or to be captured. Otherwise, it's the sort of shallow posturing that North Korea seems to have made its trademark.

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Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus

John Savard
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Wow!

"The paper hypothesises that the many opinions found online can expose people to ideas that challenge their world view, make them feel less exceptional and, when opinions are strident or include hateful content, offend them."

Of course, this wording makes me suspect that El Reg is already making fun of the Italian group, since this sounds like (they're failing to realize that) what is really dangerous is living an overly sheltered life.

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Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

John Savard
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The Missing Piece

Obviously what is proposed is only part of the solution.

Since letting people build desirable housing close to London cheaply will decrease the value of existing properties in the area, obviously the government will have to compensate those people who, in the past, paid inflated prices for their houses due to the artificial restrictions now being repealed.

That way, a government can solve the housing crisis without "losing the Home Counties for decades".

Of course, they will lose the votes of whoever the money to do this would have to come from.

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Feds salute plucky human ROBOT-FIGHTERS

John Savard
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Fond Memories

The title of this article brought back fond memories of the favorite comic book of my youth, Magnus: Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. - this was an American comic book, thus available in Canada. I don't know if the original Russ Manning art series was licensed by one of the British comic magazines, although I do know it also appeared in a German translation.

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Harvard boffins 'reverse-engineer' Chinese censorship

John Savard
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Independent Action

This is not surprising. In China, the Roman Catholic Church is not allowed to operate, but a state-controlled imitation of the Catholic Church is offered to religious believers. This is why they persecute Falun Gong, because it was not under state control.

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Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it

John Savard
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Re: Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

Well, Ronald Reagan brought about the collapse of the evil Soviet Union. Unfortunately, subsequent Presidents didn't work out a deal with Boris Yeltsin where the U.S. would inject cash into Russia to undo the collapse of its economy... in return for Russia giving up all its nuclear weapons,.

Then Vladimir Putin could have been dealt with in the same manner as Saddam Hussein - by regime change, and Georgia and the Ukraine would have been safe from aggression.

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John Savard
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Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

About the only nuke one could put on a real tomahawk would be one using Americum - you can make a bullet-sized A-bomb with that. Of course, there's a cruise missile called a Tomahawk, and that certainly could have a nuclear payload.

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John Savard
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Re: Why?

Actually, they're mad at us because we keep Israel in existence. Which is a violation of God's eternal plan, under which the Jews should be under Muslim rule, so that, like Coptic Christians in Egypt, their daughters could be raped by members of the Muslim community without recourse at will. It is a violation of the Pact of Umar, the condition under which their lives were spared, to attempt to use this as an excuse for rebelling against Muslim rule.

Take a look at Boko Haram and the Christian girls it kidnapped in Nigeria, or Islamic State and the Yezidis.

So the U.S. is not, and never has been, the aggressor in this situation. Not even the Crusades were pure aggression, because Islamic forces attacked Europe decades before the First Crusade. (However, the Crusades were an unwarranted attack launched after peace had been achieved.)

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Hack skirmish grounded Sony exec's flight after FAKE bomb scare

John Savard
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Unbelievable

If these juvenile computer vandals don't realize how seriously this sort of thing is taken after 9/11 in the U.S., it is very doubtful that their l33t haX0r ski11Z are going to keep them from finding out soon enough. Particularly if they're foolish enough to try pulling even more stunts instead of calling it a day and covering their tracks for good.

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Intelligence blunder: You wanna be Australia's spyboss? No problem, just walk right in

John Savard
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If the Director General

If the Director General had been terminated for cause, all those people who just waved him in without checking against the computer... would presumably have been told by someone that the former Director General had been terminated with prejudice (if not the extreme kind) and was to be regarded as someone not to be let in!

Since no big alert went out that the Director General was no longer the Director General, what were they to think? Manual systems quite properly take precedence over computerized ones - otherwise, some hacker could make anyone he liked Director General of ASIS for at least a day.

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Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79

John Savard
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Without the IBM PC

Some 68000-based machine, perhaps an imitation Macintosh like the Atari ST or the Commodore Amiga, would have ended up the standard. Or an earlier command-line based machine, maybe even a CP/M derivative, would have done that.

The IBM PC had one thing going for it besides the IBM name; it made going to 16 bits inexpensive and safe. Somebody else would have done that, and the market would have coalesced in another direction. Maybe Motorola today would be where Intel is now, but micros would have eclipsed mainframes without the IBM PC, as the technology was growing at a great pace in any case.

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China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft

John Savard
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Re: Laugh if you want

Well, it does seem to have happened at the National Research Council in Canada. I haven't heard about suspected Chinese government hacking at the CIA or the NSA, although I have seen news items about it at lots of other places.

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John Savard
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Re: Doom to failure

That actually would be a brilliant idea. But I doubt that it will happen.

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John Savard
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One Option

Android is open source, and it's based on Linux.

What about a modified Android that becomes a full copy of Linux once you click on an icon? So you can run safe walled-garden Android apps if you stay on the front page, but if you click the "desktop" icon then you get to use Ubuntu... or Red Flag Linux... or whatever.

As long as it doesn't leave China, Microsoft might not have luck suing for a violation of whatever patent they have on the Windows 8 design.

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AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else

John Savard
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Not Certain

It's not certain that the statement means that the card can't be used to help with calculations, but probably it does not have good double-precision performance.

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Weekend reads to tickle your intellectual palate: From Nazis to Invisibility

John Savard
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Agreed

It would have been nice for that book about the invisible to have at least some of the additional literary references you mention.

Simply because it is thin on recent science, though, I expect it would mention the modern efforts with metamaterials to make things invisible, at least (so far) through microwaves, since I rather suspect it's those recent news headlines which inspired the making of the book in the first place.

I can't fault it for focusing on microscopes instead of telescopes, however; if we can't see something because it's small, we may think of it as "invisible", but if we can't see something because it's far away, we don't think of it as invisible because we know we would be able to see it if we were there.

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Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip

John Savard
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Underwhelmed

Somehow I can't get excited over Microsoft deciding it needs to slap a price tag on what should have been Windows 8.2, or, better yet, Windows 8.1 Service Pack 1.

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Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA

John Savard
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Interesting

I'd be more concerned if Vladimir Putin said that Google was worse than the NSA. That could have consequences for people in Russia trying to find things on the Internet.

Had Rupert Murdoch said that Facebook was worse than the NSA, then one could have a rational debate; the NSA eavesdrops on people who haven't first entered into a contractual agreement with the NSA, for example.

It's true Google is more ubiquitous than Facebook, but so far they only appear to be keeping track of our search habits to serve us advertisements. Of course, the NSA does absolutely nothing with data on most of us, so in one sense Rupert Murdoch is quite right.

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

John Savard
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Condition

It's all right with me if Microsoft brings out another browser with a new name.

Just start from a whole new code base, and omit the ActiveX support. Then calling it by a different name can legitimately be seen as not being an attempt to hoodwink the consumer.

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Orwell chap snaps in Amazon paperback claptrap yap rap

John Savard
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Lower Prices

It certainly will be a good thing when natural market forces lead to a lower price for e-books.

However, for Amazon to object to traditional publishers colluding to resist its demands to sell their product to it at a price it decrees, even if it has the antitrust law on its side, to me seems morally suspect, as it is using its own massive market power to get publishers to capitulate.

The proper function of antitrust law is to eliminate the role of market power in the playing field. If Amazon can impose terms on publishers, it should be broken up into five competing companies or something like that.

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

John Savard
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Problems Yesterday

Yesterday, I noticed that for some time I could not access Typophile or the webcomic Atomic Laundromat, but other sites worked properly. I don't know if that was due to this routing bottleneck or not.

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EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder

John Savard
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Re: PDP

Ah. When I saw that acronym, the first thing I thought of was the Digital Equipment Corporation Programmed Data Processor-8. The second thing I thought of was a spelling error for Pretty Good Privacy.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

John Savard
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Re: yeah but what about the jobs...?

If one looks at the history of the Industrial Revolution, one will see that the Luddites weren't so wrong. The introduction of machinery made ordinary working people poorer, and factory owners richer, because the value of labor, hence the ability of laborers to bargain and demand goods was reduced. Technology is good, because it improves the ability of humanity as a whole to produce more with less effort, but who can actually get what is produced is not something that can just be ignored or dismissed.

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eBay bans CD sales of metal band Burzum, citing offensive material

John Savard
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Language

Given the language in which Burzum means "darkness", clearly eBay was worried about being sued by the Tolkien estate!

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John Savard
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Re: I don't get the complaints about Mien Kampf

It is indeed true that there are lots of people out there who are childish and immature, filled with frustrations, and heedless of the sufferings of others - so what counts is not preventing the existence of such people, but making sure they cannot take the helm of a whole country, and lead it into aggression.

Now, we have Vladimir Putin and Russia to study, in addition to Hitler and Germany. Lenin and Mao, on the other hand, gained control of their respective countries in rather simple and obvious ways.

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US cyber-army's cyber-warriors 'cyber-humiliated by cyber-civvies in cyber-games'

John Savard
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What the world needs is a good operating system with no vulnerabilities and no exploits.

There's that provably correct microkernel that just got released into open-source recently; perhaps it's a start...

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

John Savard
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Wikipedia is Wrong

I think that Wikipedia's position is mistaken. Copyright law isn't like patent law, so just providing the camera is enough to own the copyright on an image. The macaque would have to be a human who didn't sign a work made for hire contract to shake that up. Anyways, Wikipedia can't afford to waste money on lawyers, and this is not a copyright issue of a sort that affects Internet freedom.

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African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

John Savard
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Right in the same country!

Aside from the 490 scammers, there's something truly abominable there - Boko Haram.

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

John Savard
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Joke

"Audited" the Internet?

But they didn't check the expense claims of the Internet. Let's see now, what other meanings does the word "Audit" have?

Ah - they've cleared the Internet of its engrams!

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Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs

John Savard
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I don't recall my computer, when connected to the Internet, and with a flash drive plugged into a USB port, ever telling me that it wants to download an update for the software in the flash drive's controller. So it seems that there's no legitimate reason for the firmware on these drives to remain programmable once they leave the factory.

That ought to be a cure that is implementable at trivial cost.

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

John Savard
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In addition to proving the C source code correct, they've also proved compiled versions of the microkernel correct for a limited number of architectures - the x86 and ARM. So the fact that GCC might have bugs in it has been dealt with, at least for the most common systems.

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China in MONOPOLY PROBE into Microsoft: Do not pass GO, do not collect 200 yuan

John Savard
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Surprising

Requiring Microsoft to port Office to the Linux operating system would be a rather novel application of antitrust, given that programs are generally written to run on a particular environment. What next, Windows being illegally tied to the Intel x86 architecture?

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Russia: There is a SPACECRAFT full of LIZARDS in orbit above Earth and WE control it

John Savard
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Well, in the latter case, Russia would have to call on Hungary for assistance.

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

John Savard
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Well, of course!

Of course there will have to be 4K content for the sets to be of any particular interest. And apparently an enhanced Blu-Ray format that would permit 4K content to be distributed economically is not yet available.

But as soon as that happens, 4K sets should become of interest as soon as people feel they can afford one. Otherwise, they will be primarily of use to doctors viewing digitally-stored X-Rays.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

John Savard
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Odds?

I think that if the odds of a Carrington event were that high - 12 percent at every solar maximum - we would have had one by now. And it seems like there should have been several dinosaur-killer asteroids since the rise of human civilization as well. So I think that science hasn't yet put the odds in proportion of the things we are now seeing with better detection.

But just in case, the world's governments should build deep underground metal-lined storage areas... where the obsolete computers that people keep throwing away could be stored. That way we could rebuild civilization more quickly after something like that! Computers that are 10 years out of date sure beat the stone age!

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Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

John Savard
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Re: Again...I prefer to get the opinion of scientists...

Science does not require faith. It proves itself to work time and time again through the effectiveness of the technological miracles it wreaks in plain sight! Plus, its secrets are openly available to anyone who will take the trouble to learn calculus.

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John Savard
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Joke

Re: AGW == socialism

Absolutely, if the demand for "cleaner energy" is only generated by government intervention in the free market!

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John Savard
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The Answer

Go with nuclear power so we can increase our energy consumption and become wealthier while cutting our carbon footprint. Then everyone's happy.

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New Star Wars movie plot details leak, violate common sense and laws of physics

John Savard
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Gravity is a Conservative Force

But since it was the cloud city of Bespin, and not the space city of Bespin, yes, it does seem the hand would have had to fall down. Had it been an orbital base, for the hand to go into an elliptical orbit would just take a little push - and a hyperbolic orbit, sending it out into space, would just take a bigger one. Even in a somewhat downwards direction.

However, notwithstanding the laws of physics, that plot premise sounds immensely shaky.

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Intel teaches Oracle how to become the latest and greatest Xeon Whisperer

John Savard
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Interesting

Oracle was the company that was sued by HP to get it to continue supporting the Itanium.

Also, Oracle bought Sun; my take on that acquisition is that it was done primarily so that Oracle could get its hands on the Sun SPARC architecture, so that as a database vendor it could compete head-to-head with IBM. This happened just before Intel made the RAS features offered with the Itanium also available on some Xeon x86 chips.

Given all of this, I'm somewhat surprised that Oracle and Intel have this cozy a relationship.

Given that green computing is popular now, the ability to turn off cores just to save power when they're not being used - database systems can have variable loads depending on the business they serve - is relevant in any case. Since IBM does charge by usage on some of its hardware, though, it's definitely not impossible that Oracle is also seeking similar capabilities.

But I don't think one has to worry too much about Oracle using it to gouge customers, since cheap commodity x86 gear is so easily available.

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That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

John Savard
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Word order?

The one I understood was "Ad astra et ad tavernem". Yes, it doesn't follow the pattern of "Ad astra per aspera", but that's because it means somethig different (and hence it isn't breaking Latin word order) - "To the stars through hope" versus a more anticlimactic "To the stars, and to the pub".

It isn't intended to claim that going to the pub makes a material contribution to getting to the stars.

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What's inside AMD's life-support machine? A big pile o' PlayStation 4s and XBox Ones

John Savard
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Unique

AMD, by being licensed to make x86 chips, has a unique advantage that other microprocessor makers do not; it can make chips that people want to buy, because they can be used to run Windows. Therefore, this ought to be something close to a license to print money.

Yes, Intel is much bigger, and so competing head-to-head with Intel is difficult, because Intel has the ability to make the best and most powerful CPUs that anyone can make, given the much larger amount of money it has to spend on the most advanced fabs. I'm surprised Intel isn't trying to pick up the loose change lying around by making better PowerPC chips than IBM and better SPARC chips than Oracle... or, at least, I would be if those markets were worth pursuing. As it is, Intel already has the Itanium to keep it busy.

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Hamas hacks Israeli TV sat channel to broadcast pics of Gaza wounded

John Savard
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Non-violent Resistace

Well, it might be that most Palestinians realize this already, and this is why there are no suicide bombers from the West Bank any more. Although the wall helped. But look at how Coptic Christians have been treated in Egypt: there is an ingrained tendency to look on non-Muslims with contempt, along with other factors, that make it almost inevitable that terrorist groups will find recruits.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

John Savard
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Famous call

This news item brought to mind the famous case of someone trying to cancel his AOL service, who was at one point, despite being an adult, asked to put his parents on the line.

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

John Savard
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Canada

Here in Canada, from 1968 (earlier with the nickel) until 2000, most of our coins were made of pure nickel. They're now made of steel, but they're still nickel plated. I'm surprised we don't have a big problem with this sort of thing.

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IBM's $3bn bet on next-gen computers: Carbon nanotubes, neuro chips

John Savard
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Well

It wouldn't be a bad thing if, when silicon ran out of steam, Intel was left in the lurch, and IBM - chastened by its old antitrust suits - roared back.

It would be inconvenient if Microsoft Windows had to jump from the x86 architecture to, say, the PowerPC, the way the Macintosh jumped twice, from the 680x0 to the PowerPC and then from that to the x86, but Intel's monopoly is a bad thing.

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Russian MP fears US Secret Service cuffed his son for Snowden swap

John Savard
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Cut and Dried

Obviously this is a legitimate police investigation of credit card fraud. The U.S. does not hold innocent people hostage, and the Russian MP is just deliberately lying through his teeth.

I'm just waiting for the day Putin stands before a court of law in Georgia or the Ukraine on the charge of aggressive war, and is sentenced like Tojo before him. All that will take is sanctions sufficient to get the Russian people to vote him out.

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Tesla trademark spat threatens Musk's China dream

John Savard
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Re: Typical China... stolen names and cheap knockoff's

But why should he need to? For a company to have a valid trademark in any country, it should be clear that one has to genuinely believe that trademark to be original. If someone else somewhere is using it first, registering a copycat trademark is an attempt at fraud, which is a criminal offence.

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VMware's super-secret MARVIN: It's software-defined war on future IT

John Savard
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Hardware?

Some of the other articles about Marvin have included speculation that VMware would start selling hardware nodes with VMware software preinstalled - including the new VSAN product - as part of it, since that's what the companies it is seen as competing with are doing.

But it seems unnatural for VMware to get into the hardware business.

There is a way they could get involved with hardware without actually selling any. Maybe they're planning to do an Android Silver.

That would probably also be insane, given that hardware suppliers are their customers, but it's an in-between alternative that I'm surprised has not been noted.

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John Savard
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Confusing

I see that VCE, named as a competitor of VMware along with Simplivity and Nutanix, is actually owned by EMC and VMware, like Pivotal, but also by Cisco and Intel. This is starting to get a little confusing. But I suppose it's a good idea for VMware to have its toe in the converged future.

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