* Posts by Vittal Aithal

13 posts • joined 2 Mar 2007

Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?

Vittal Aithal


I always thought clip-clopping of hooves would be a good sound to use. The speed of the clip-clops would be relative to the speed of the car meaning a pedestrian would be able to judge speed and distance (through volume) from just the sound.

NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success

Vittal Aithal


Yes, MARSIS has been working away collecting data. You can get the data from ESA at https://archives.esac.esa.int/psa/#!Table%20View/MARSIS=instrument

Former Google X bloke's startup unveils 'self flying' electric air taxi

Vittal Aithal

How many average urban helicopters are there?

@I ain't Spartacus

I think it was the Daily Planet building - a 206 JetRanger fell off. Thankfully nobody got hurt, because a bloke who has trouble remembering whether his pants go on the inside or outside, turned-up and saved everybody.

Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

Vittal Aithal

Re: The Home Office

You're right - happens to all Home Secs. I reckon it's something in the water coolers as the Home Office. Remember how Blunkett quickly went off the rails once he arrived. One sip, and it's all "Who needs airy-fairy civil liberties!".

HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Vittal Aithal

Signal flags

Wonder if we'll have to have a new flag signal for: "Undergoing blue screen of death. Unable to navigate or communicate until reboot and chkdsk complete".

Vittal Aithal

Source code access

Does raise the question of whether the UK got a source code license from Microsoft and performed their own audit. Seems like the sensible option and I'd hope the bods at GCHQ had sufficient skill to be able to pick it apart (if only to pick out their own exploits for later use).

You'd sort of hope that with a multi-billion pound bit of kit we'd have rolled our own fork and pay Microsoft for source code access to updates too. You'd also like to think that where XP is being used in critical UK services, we could be rolling out our updates if Microsoft prove unable/unwilling. It's not like XP is getting any feature updates. Seems like a good use of the many, many £££ we feed to GCHQ. Probably a bit too much like joined up government though :(

I know there was a stink about us not being able to get the source code for the F-35. There was an agreement in 2006 for UK access, but in 2009 the Americans told us to f**k right off (AFAIK). Wonder if the same applies here.

Russia and China bombard Blighty with 188 cyberattacks in 3 months

Vittal Aithal

Re: Acts of war?

Let's hope it's not an act of war since you can bet your bottom dollar that we're equally busy trying to squirrel into their networks (if only to find the infamous Trump rumpy-pumpy (mostly pumpy) videos).

Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

Vittal Aithal

Re: it's easy to resolve...

"cut fuel duty as oil in any form is the root of just about everything in modern life"

Including all evil?

Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

Vittal Aithal

Re: Reloading


Just very, very, *very* long ones!

GCHQ 'smart collection' would protect MPs from spies, says NSA expert

Vittal Aithal

Smart selection...

"Smart selection is smart collection" - I wonder if anyone has pointed this out to the Home Secretary given that she's bent on slurping up absolutely everyone's network history.

Licence to snoop: Ipso facto, crypto embargo? Draft Investigatory Powers bill lands

Vittal Aithal

Re: Humm

Asking whether the Home Secretary is aware of technical issues is like asking a horse if it's aware of the weather on Mars.

Vittal Aithal

It is patriotic to encrypt your data

Seems to me that if you're a patriotic, law abiding citizen, then it's only beneficial to the security services if you encrypt your traffic to avoid it being logged.

If you're not doing anything illegal, then all that data that's logged about your traffic is noise. Its just extra stuff that has to be captured, stored, indexed, archived, backed-up, secured and (hopefully) eventually deleted. In a time critical situation, having terabytes of guff to crawl through is a waste. Capturing all that data is the equivalent of phoning the police each time you nip out down the shops, just to keep them in the loop; it would just be boring data that clogged up the system. If they're not interested in our law-abiding traffic, then it's no loss to them if it's not stored. Far better to use the saved £££ on specialist teams (no doubt wielding zero-day exploits) and physical surveillance to go after the bad guys.

Some may say that you don't have a problem if they know you've gone to www.facebook.com. However, you're not just connecting to there. A quick look at facebook now shows me connecting to static.xx.fbcdn.net, scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net, fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net, fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net, fbcdn-photos-c-a.akamaihd.net and fbcdn-photos-b-a.akamaihd.net - and that's with AdBlock+ active. Are you *sure* that there's no hokey content on any of those sites? Do you really feel happy if you're traffic is tagged because one of those sites is hosting something questionable? Throw in advertising sites and malware, and the number of sites you connect to becomes very big and very uncontrolled.

The thick (and "presently" unlikely) end of this particular wedge is cameras in your house. After all, your bog is probably a "safe space", and the PM doesn't like giving evil-doers safe spaces. Sure, the film would be encrypted, just stored for a year (by your oh-so-secure ISP) and only available under special circumstances, but ask yourself - would you be happy being filmed taking a dump?

Added to all this, if the UK demands that Google, Apple and others are required to provide backdoors, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the Russians, Chinese, Indians, Saudis and just about every other nation will demand the same. Very soon, the service providers security will be riddled with nation state holes. So what if GCHQ keeps its access keys under super-duper security - a smallish bribe in Bombay or Moscow may be all you need for access. Security is limited by the weakest link, and once governments of all flavours have access, your security (and that of every UK business) is open to the highest bidder. Our patriotic duty is the ensure the security of the UK economy, and that means not letting other nations sniff through our data. If the UK bans end-to-end encryption, then we will put ourselves at a massive economic disadvantage as less scrupulous actors take advantage.

If you're in the UK and are suspected of serious crimes, RIPA already gives plod the power to demand your data. If you don't off to the clink for you. If you're not in the UK, well, your traffic data may not be logged in a means accessible by plod/GCHQ. Why would this bill give us any additional security?

DNSCrypt, Tor, SSL, PGP - these are the tools of patriots!

Sky takes ball and goes home

Vittal Aithal


OK, so they're both behaving like kids (which I can sort of understand), but what really hacks me off is all the money we've been paying ntl (and now virgin) which has been going to the coffers of Mr.Murdoch is now going to those of Mr.Branson. So now, I pay for the same lousy service (my former-ntl Samsung STB is the biggest pile of sh*te I've had the misfortune to use), but get less - and presumably will have to pay even more for what I had.

And off course Virgin Media are really technically capable of running an IPTV on-demand service since they run such a fantastic website (oh, wait... their swanky 'have your shout' pages all appear to be busted when viewed through a VirginMedia broadband line through a VirginMedia transparent proxy).


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