* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

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"I read it in a book"

Has anyone tried asking if all books are infallible sources of wisdom?

I prefer "the test of truth is an experiment". Shajar Abid is welcome to eat radium until he gets cancer then cure himself with his magic honey.

Democrats draft laws in futile attempt to protect US internet privacy

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Re: Americans preparing to repeat history

This time people are making sure the repetition happens ASAP.

Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

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I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

The obvious way for Microsoft to deal with your dissatisfaction with their newer operating systems is to back port full telemetry to their earlier offerings.

As Trump signs away Americans' digital privacy, it's time to bring out the BS detector

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Re: We'll follow as usual

If only there were a presidential candidate who promised to 'drain the swamp' ...

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My ISP used to provide a web server accessible via ssh, but then cancelled it without warning and outsourced it to a company that only provided sftp. What they did not say was free for one year only, so a year later the site became unmodifiable and still causes trouble when people find it instead of the replacement.

My ISP used to provide email with the option to run my own email server. Then they <sarcasm>upgraded</sarcastm> to Microsoft exchange, so I lost push email, and adding an account required spending ten minutes interacting with a web interface instead of just typing two words of CLI. Later, email disappeared without warning, with the option of paying per account. (I name accounts after the company I am corresponding with and delete the account if I get spam from it.)

So far I have stayed with this ISP because they have demonstrated competence as a bit pusher. I fully expect that in future they will use deep packet inspection to find out how I access my web server and how I send and receive email so they can block it and make their defective overpriced spying services compulsory. That will be the day I dump them and hope there is still a bit pushing service available.

D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

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Last time this came up

Joe Biden proposed a law mandating back doors in all encrypted communication. He also plagiarised Neil Kinnock's speeches. The result was steganography software which created output that resembled a Neil Kinnock speech.

Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly

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Re: Will any Minister be sacked for this?

QE? Do you really mean quantitive easing, or the second big 'bail out the banks by printing loads of money' known as QE2?

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Draft Trump speech found on wikileaks

We support jobs. It's about jobs, also. The F35 program has created a huge number of jobs for Americans. I do not care if it cannot land twice. That is not important. First we want to fix our highways. We're going to fix our highways. We fix the pot holes in our highways, the F35 will not have to take off. We are going to spend another $329billion on the flirtyfive, and we are going to make the Mexicans pay for it.

Kremlin-linked hacker crew's tactics exposed

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@tom dial

Until today, I had not read the section on the Ukraine in the Democrat and the Republican platforms. Both are really waffly with vague commitments. I think they are both too fuzzy to call one stronger than the other. The Republicans did weaken their platform concerning the Ukraine. I looked for evidence of something similar from the Democrats. All I found was criticism of Obama's stance from Republicans.

Do you have something that shows the Democrats changed their tune at least as much as the Republicans did?

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Re: Check is in the mail, SecureWorks

Please explain why the Trump campaign changed the Republican manifesto to support Russia against the Ukraine. Why did Don's campaign manager contribute his valuable time for free?

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Old news

Russians caught faking evidence before Trump elected.

How hard will it be to measure Planet Nine?

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Re: Hmmm

Call all you want. They will not answer. The cowards are hiding.

SpaceX wows world with a ho-hum launch of a reused rocket, landing it on a tiny boring barge

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ULA's plan is to recover only the engines, so the other bit to go wrong is the explosives to separate the engines from the fuel tank. ULA are a bunch of rocket scientists so they have the technical skills for mid-air retrieval. They would need an astronomical budget. As they have a proven record of getting billions from the US government, I would not scribble 'impossible' on their plan. I would go with 'ambitious with a clear smell of desperate', 'expensive' and 'will get delayed at least five years'.

How to leak data from an air-gapped PC – using, er, a humble scanner

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Re: Oh right,

For me, the giveaway was transmitting their command in 3.2 seconds. Including start and stop bits they would barely get two bytes per second. "d x.pdf\n" would require at least 4 seconds even without authentication and error correction.

Samsung plans Galaxy Note 7 fire sale

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You are overestimating PHBs

Finding the relevant PDF is well beyond the ability of a PHB. If a techy left one visible on his computer or left hard copy lying around the PHB would not even try to read it. The more likely scenario is a PHB got hold of a sample battery and enclosure, measured them with a ruler and decided that they ought to fit together.

UK digital minister Matt Hancock praises 'crucial role' of encryption

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Other possibilities

Theresa May lacks the skill to recognise competence.

Theresa May does have the skill to recognise competence, so she picked Amber Rudd instead.

Spotted: Bizarre SpaceX rocket-snatching machine that looks like it belongs on Robot Wars

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This has been discussed elsewhere

In summary, fleshies cower miles away and race in as fast as they can after the landing. This can still take hours. During that time the motion of the drone ship causes the rocket to walk across the deck. On a bad day the rocket could walk into the sea before anyone can stop it. Luckily, where humans fear to tread, a robot is ready to rush in and prevent its friend from committing suicide.

Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

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You mean the NT kernel wasn't written in Brainfuck?

I thought that was their excuse.

That 'Trump lawyers threaten teen over kitten website' yarn is Fakey Fakey McFake Fakeface

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Re: Really ..

"I really just want people to be aware that this is a president who's clearly more concerned about what people think of him than doing things of substance,"

I think people who made even a small effort to investigate Donald are relieved that he is more concerned about what people think of him than doing things of substance. Douglas Adams caught on years before the rest of us.

The USA sank so low precisely the same way the UK did.

FYI anyone who codes outside work: GitHub has a contract to stop bosses snatching it all

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Re: Interesting, but..

I have been given "we own everything you ever think of" papers in the UK before. The task of getting the it signed was offloaded to a minion, presumably because the boss was afraid of hearing my thoughts on the matter. I read the document on company time. By the time I finished, the minion wandered off. I put the document in the round filing cabinet under my desk and no-one ever mentioned it again.

Could be worse. I have been offered "A legal dispute is grounds to withhold payment" together with "Withholding payment is grounds for a legal dispute".

Large Hadron Collider turns up five new particles

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Re: Puzzled, as usual

Please take a look at the pretty Feynman diagram. On the left you can see an electron and a positron getting closer together, annihilating each other and the energy being conserved as a photon, then the photon decaying into a quark/anti-quark pair. From another point of view, an electron is happily moving forwards through time when it hits a photon, and bounces backwards through time. From our point of view, an electron going backwards through time is an anti-electron (aka positron). The same sort of thing is also on the right of the diagram: an anti-quark happily moving backwards through time bounces off a photon and ends up going forwards through time where we detect it as a quark.

Really going back in time??? I have no idea, but the pretty pictures help remind physicists that single quarks (and leptons) do not just appear out of nowhere alone. Any time you get a quark you also get an anti-quark.

If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed that the entire galaxy is made out of electrons and up and down quarks. Where are all the positrons and anti-quarks that must have come out of nowhere with them? Physicists have been looking for ages. They are not behind the cushions on the sofa. Have they been stolen? I blame the budget cuts.

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Re: Er, "new" particle?

If I go with you analogy, you set up a huge grid of milk bottles then send two fully loaded car transporters zooming towards each other. Afterwards you have a record of which milk bottles broke. Some of the broken bottles form lines radiating from the impact site, but some of the lines meet at points far from the impact point. Clearly some cars joined together, flew over the bottles, landed, broke apart and started breaking bottles.

The half life of these new particles is really short, but the are going really fast - fast enough for lots of time dilation from special relativity. The new particles can go a measurable distance before they decay into things the detectors can record. 'Particles' is a rather inclusive word. There is a smallish number of fundamental particles, and a huge number of composite particles made up of several fundamental particles. The new five are all made of the same fundamental particles, but the component parts are moving faster in some than in others.

Quantum mechanics limits the speeds to a sequence of values: our cluster of joined cars can spin around once, twice or three times per second. They cannot spin at 1.414213562 times per second. This is usually considered enough of an excuse to call them different particles rather than one type of composite particle with a range of possible internal energy states.

WWE star's swiped sex snaps survey spam snares selfie sickos

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Darwin didn't fix this in mokeys

Experiment shows monkeys will pay for monkey porn. (To be fair, looking at monkey porn did not cause their bank accounts to be emptied. Clearly a follow up experiment is needed.)

'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

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In Terzian's alternate universe ...

... a subpoena for a specific piece of information about one customer of a company can only be handled by handing over the company's entire collection of data to the police and hoping that it eventually comes back unmodified.

Gov.UK pulls plug on its YouTube ads amid extremism concerns

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What uncomfortable truth?

We have some words from a politician determined to portray himself as either clueless or malicious. A politician's job involves making unfounded allegations, finding no problem then taking the credit for fixing it. People who were not born yesterday will remember FAST telling us that pirate DVDs fund terrorism. They had a duty to turn over evidence of terrorist funding to the police, but they provided absolutely nothing. In real life, DVD pirates had paper thin margins because they had a piracy problem. If there is real evidence of Google funding terrorism, send it to the police so it can be dealt with.

Part of my pension fund is invested in Google. The same is probably true of millions of others in the UK. I think Google should concentrate on paying cash out in shareholder profits. Part of doing that is rewarding youtube contributors - which they do - so they will create more cat videos and provide hours of entertainment for hundreds of millions of people.

I can see why the government would want to put a stop to that.

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When mud is in the air, I like to look at who threw it

Labour MP Chuka Umunna quoted the operating profit for the whole of Google and compared it to the reward for 1000 views on youtube. I tried to find figures for youtube's gross income, expenses and payouts to contributors. I could not find anything definitive. Sensible guesses are about 50% of revenue goes back to contributors and 25% for infrastructure. Take your pick:

Chuka Umunna did some proper research and selected the figures that sounded worst.

Chuka Umunna is so clueless he did not even notice he was comparing air craft carriers to oranges.

SpaceX yoinks $96m GPS launch deal from under ULA's nose

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Re: Does the extra hardware weigh a lot less than the extra fuel for Falcon 9?


The rocket equation is really horrible. The basic idea is fuel+oxidiser go down, payload goes up. At the start, most of the power is used to accelerate the remaining fuel+oxidiser in the wrong direction. As the rocket goes up, things get worse - more an more power has to go into dealing with the fuel+oxidizer going very fast the wrong way. Near the end of the burn, you are lifting a big empty fuel tank. Recovering a Falcon 9 first stage requires an extra 30% fuel+oxidiser. The reason SpaceX is pays for the extra fuel (and reduced payload) is that it costs 1% of the launch fee and recovers a stage 1 that costs 25% of the launch fee.

ULA's initial concept did not include recovering the engines. In order to look remotely credible they had to bolt some kind of engine recovery onto their partially developed design. Some bombs to blow away the fuel tank, an inflatable heat shield and a parachutes should be much lighter than the SpaceX solution. Explosive bolts have been around for decades, so the separation should be as easy as rocket science. The inflatable heat shield is an old idea with one successful 3m diameter test (the shield on the video looked about 25m across). Catching tiny payloads with a helicopter sometimes used to work, and a pair of rocket engines are easily small enough to be carried around by a big modern helicopter (How much do helicopters and drone ships cost?).

ULA's plan is not bat shit crazy. It does have plenty of R&D cost and enough development to keep ULA out of the cost competitive launch business until well after the first reusable Falcon 9s get retired.

[SpaceX should be launching Echostar 23 about now. No landing this time.]

Scott McNealy: Your data is safer with marketers than governments

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Why business will not be required to keep customer data secret

Has someone anonymously posted a comment on the net that is not whole hearted praise for your work? Did they imply you did something illegal? No need to spend time and effort working out who they are. Just put the URL and a small quote from the offending comment in out web site: http://duopoly.net/customer-data/, fill in your credit card number and we will send you the name, address and bank details of the offensive toe rag.

Why not sign up for our automated service? Any mention of your name in a negative context will trigger an automated alert to the NSA, DHS, or ATF. Put the video of the resultant swatting on youtube for an immediate chilling effect. At duoploy.net we have the data to keep voters in their place. Let's change the law so we can put this data to good use.

'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

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Re: It only makes it easier to crack...

I thought all L337 |-|4><0r$ used p455\^/0Rd-0|\|3

My favourate: '; DROP TABLE users /*

User lubed PC with butter, because pressing a button didn't work

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The last time I used MS Word ...

... the layout changed depending on the selected printer driver.

For the last decade or so I have been using reportlab. Bye bye WYS is POM dependent.

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a drone? Is it a car? It's both, crossed with Uber

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Found an example to scale from

Here is a one man electric helicopter. That baseline has a pair of 4.74m diameter counter rotating rotors, 75kg of pilot, about 40kg of batteries and 10 minutes of endurance. If we glue four of these together, we have enough lift for a second (quadruple weight) battery to double the endurance and 65kg left over for a passenger. Our vehicle is 9.5m wide. A popular "standard" two lane main road width is 7.5m with 1.8m pavements, so this contraption requires both lanes and half the pavement on each side.

Upgrading the batteries to something futuristic allows bigger passengers with shopping or more endurance. The rotor size can be reduced but you then need bigger motors, bigger batteries and a bunch of lawyers to deal with complaints from recently deaf neighbours. (The sonic boom from the rotors will also smash the counter rotating rotors.)

Your Amazon order is confirmed: Eutelsat via Blue Origin. Estimated delivery date: 2022

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Cannot find it

Amazon does sell rockets, just not really big ones. If you want to get into the launch business Register style, Amazon does sell a handy kit. The humour department clearly had the day off because I could not find a sticker on their transporter/erector.

Scammers hired hundreds of 'staff' to defraud TalkTalk customers

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Re: ???

From the decription in the article I would have gone with "used social engineering to install a RAT". It looks like part of the story came via the BBC where I bet they "used technobabble because they do not know any better".

Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

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Only one of their selected features caused any interest

"more economical": does this mean cheaper or pay an extra £300 to save £50 of electricity?

For me, thinner means more fragile, higher cost and extra status symbol bragging points for twits (can the screen be used as a mirror without using the camera?). If they had said the power brick was a USB hub with Ethernet and HDMI ports then that would have caused a sarcastic "well that only took 3 years". A feature that I look forward to would be to make the finger print scanner removable and a pre-paid envelope to send it straight for recycling.

I just checked memory usage: 2GB installed, over half has no better use than as a cache for the SSD. I suspect that as usual I am not their target market.

Stop the press: Journos not happy losing jobs to journo bots, say journos

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Fact checking

Do these bots email the subject of an article and ask for comment? Does Apple have a bot to that ignores any email from The Register?

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Re: Why rely on mere humans to read the output...

Already happened.

Pence v Clinton: Both used private email for work, one hacked, one accused of hypocrisy

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Skype-on-Linux graduates from Alpha to Beta status

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What is the benefit putting a cloud in the middle?


Congratulations IBM for 'inventing' out-of-office email. You win Stupid Patent of the Month

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You thought you were joking

Wheel already patented. Try fire or crop rotation.

TWO BILLION PCs to sell in next five years

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Re: You know what would increase PC sales?

I think Microsoft know exactly how much value people place on Windows 10. That was why they made it a free upregrade and rammed it down peoples' throats so hard they got sued. Despite their best efforts to infuriate their customers, they are still getting a net profit of a about $1B/month. They can afford not to care.

Sony: Never mind the phones – look out at what our crazy lab scientists have done

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Re: Sony should have ruled the roost

You forgot the Sony Memory Stick. (not to worry, so did everybody else.)

In other news, what has happened to Andrew Orlowski? The article contained only one half hearted kick at Samsung. Why hasn't he blamed Google for the bad weather or found Julia Reda guilty of witchcraft? I accidently read a couple of his articles recently and there were no ad hominem attacks or baseless slurs of character. Should I let him off the naughty step, or is someone ghost writing for he while he is on holiday?

Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

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The test of truth is an experiment

For the next election cycle let's have all politicians do their online banking protected by ROT13.

LUNAR-CY! SpaceX announces a Moon trip-for-two it'll inevitably miss the deadline on

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Price looks sane to me

The SpaceX price list shows a Falcon Heavy costs $90M compared to $62M for a new Falcon FT. I could not find a link to the price for a second hand FT launch. IIRC that costs about forty few million. A one-off flight round the moon would cost way more than $100M, but as a part of a sequence of launches including re-use the price should be profitable. SpaceX has already sold 3 other Falcon Heavies. If they do not start re-launching soon, they will run out of places to put spare rockets. There must be about half a dozen used stage 1's lying around by now. The first re-launch is planned for late March.

Gov wants to make the UK the 'safest place in the world to go online'

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A quick trip to cloud cuckoo land

Imagine the new nanny state internet bill gets signed into law. It is an instant success and kiddies immediately stop sexting each other. Instead they sneak off behind the shed to play doctor when their parents are distracted.

What was the point of all this?

Radioactive leak riddle: Now Team America sniffs Europe's skies for iodine isotope source

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Not the best choice

The short half life means the radioactivity falls to approximately background levels in weeks, so no long term damage. Terrorists should use Bismuth, with a half live of 1.9x1019 years - easily available as a common ingredient of lead free solder.

Highway to HBLL: The missing link between DRAM and L3 found

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Re: Why?

DRAM has been produced at successively smaller scales. This reduces the power requirement per Mb and the latency per Mb. Both improvements have been trashed by the increased capacity. The CPU cache could be made bigger or faster - but that would cost speed or capacity.

Putting the cache on a separate die allows using a process dedicated to DRAM, which is cheaper than using a process that can create DRAM and a CPU on the same die. Also, using a separate die means the DRAM does not suffer from having to work at the CPU die's temperature, allowing the cache to be bigger, faster or cheaper.

SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

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Near miss?

At T+00:06:30 stage 1 goes past something visible on its downward pointing camera. Anyone know what is was?

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Re: re-use

Hopefully, in late March we can watch the stage 1 that launched CRS-8 launch SES-10. The Falcon Heavy Demo is currently pencilled in for late May: three landings for the cost of 1.5.

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

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Re: My username is...

Mr Coward, you clearly suffer from multiple personality disorder. Although some of your personalities have expressed their undying love for our president, others have called him a pussy grabbing loon and far worse. Your disparaging comments on the Department of Homeland Security were not welcome. Until it time for you to return home, will be staying at a Trump prison, which serves only the best luxury water at $5000 per glass. Now please hand over your online banking credentials my colleague, who will take out a loan in your name so you will be able to pay your bill promptly on your departure.

Please enjoy your stay in the US and return to us as soon as you can afford it.

Oracle hatches 'incubator' OpenJDK APIs idea

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Or the other way around:

Everyone and his dromedary who contributes to incubator APIs sues Oracle.

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