* Posts by Christian Berger

4626 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007

Happy 60th birthday, video games. Thank William Higinbotham for your misspent evenings

Christian Berger
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Yeah although that wasn't a _Video_ game as such

It was more of a computer game. Video games involved other kinds of techniques which made games different. In a video game you have concepts from television, like "collissions" which occur when 2 picture elements (i.e. ball and player) are scanned at the same time and therefore appear to touch or overlap.

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Android creator Andy Rubin's firm might think its phone is Essential, but 30% of staff are not

Christian Berger
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Well he buildt exactly the product reviewers wanted...

Every feature of that phone is what reviewers cared about in their reviews, but none of those features is about what people actually want. The result is a phone that's highly reviewed, but nobody wants to buy.

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Decoding the Google Titan, Titan, and Titan M – that last one is the Pixel 3's security chip

Christian Berger
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Re: No lineage?

"Given the last paragraph, does this mean we can or can't install something like lineageOS on"

The main reason for all the "security features" in the smartphone world is to secure busines models.

If "lineageOS" threatens a busines model in any way (which it likely does) there is a motive to prevent it from booting.

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FYI: Drone maker DJI's 'Get it on Google Play' website button definitely does not get the app from Google Play...

Christian Berger
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That's actually a good feature

I hate it when app-makers try to force me into getting a Google account.

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EU aren't kidding: Sky watchdog breathes life into mad air taxi ideas

Christian Berger
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In Germany there actually is a strong push for those ideas in the ruling party

And yes, they get ridiculed for that a lot, but those people simply aren't smart enough to understand why "air taxies" are a mad idea.

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US mobe owners will get presidential text message at 2:18 pm Eastern Time

Christian Berger
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Don't worry

This feed will probably only be accessible from a special terminal located at Donald's bathroom.

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The secret history of Apple's Stacks

Christian Berger
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Re: "Renewed"????

Well actually to have your patent last the maximum amount of time, you need to pay regular fees. Otherwise it will run out much earlier.

However often with Patents you try to get 2 patents for essentially the same thing. Checking isn't very strict and patent lawyers are here to talk any patent clerk into submission. So essentially they might have just made a new patent about some other aspects of the same thing.

It's a bit like patenting a new use for a fork, you cannot patent a fork, but you can patent a way of brushing your hair with one.

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Apple forgot to lock Intel Management Engine in laptops, so get patching

Christian Berger
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Minux?

Are you sure it's not Minix?

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Wi-Fi Alliance ditches 802.11 spec codes for consumer-friendly naming scheme

Christian Berger
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Actually seems to make things more complicated

I mean the most important information is wether the device supports 5 GHz or WPA3. Signaling speed enhancements are important, but not as important as the band it's working on or how it authenticates, as those essentially determine if your device is usable at all or just a paperweight given your situation.

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100,000 home routers recruited to spread Brazilian hacking scam

Christian Berger
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Re: MokroTik

" Apart from that web side access should be closed down by default."

TR-069, the protocol which ISPs use to manage their routers, requires a webservice to be available from the Internet. And no, routers typically don't allow you to set up a packet filter to only allow those services from the IP-Adresses of the ACS of your ISP.

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Ever used an airport lounge printer? You probably don't know how blabby they can be

Christian Berger
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This is, BTW, one reason to have Fax on your Laptop

Thanks to VoIP all you need is a decent Internet connection to send a fax. As most hotels have fax machines, this is a simple and low-fuss way to get something printed. It's also likely to not cost you anything.

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Microsoft hopes it has a sequel better than Godfather Part II: SQL Server 2019 previewed

Christian Berger
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It somehow reminds me of the dusk of the minicomputer age

Back then you could suddenly get microcomputer versions of minicomputers, just to keep the enviroment going. You could get a PDP on a small board, sometimes even integrated into a terminal. (like the VT78 or the DEC Professional)

I mean Microsoft SQL-Server has lost the "default" status it had in the late 1990s early 2000s to MySQL. It's now used a lot for "legacy" stuff. Few people start new projects with MS-SQL as the features of MySQL are more than enough for 99% of all usecases.

Also parts of Microsoft seem to want to exit the "professional" market (see Windows 10) it is obvious to see why some parts want to have an exit strategy.

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The 2018 ThinkPad X1 Yoga: A bendy-legged workhorse walks into a meeting

Christian Berger
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Re: You mean like Wacom pens who that don't need a battery at all?

Apparently powering the pen via the electromagnetic fields you use to sense the position is (was?) patented.

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Christian Berger
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So how is this a workhorse?

The battery is "non-replacable" which is a big no-go when using this more than a few years.

It seems to me like this is yet another "optimized for thickness at all costs" fashion statement that has little practical use over, let's say, a trusty old X200, yet costs 20 times as much.

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US JEDI military cloud network is so high-tech, bidders will have to submit their proposals by hand, on DVD

Christian Berger
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So... how is this old fashioned?

Normally this would be done by meetings by which you meet people in the same room as you are... as people have been for thousands of years.

Of course I personally would insist on written proposals, as the ability to write a good proposal is probably corellated to the ability to write good specifications or software. All of those forms are text based and all require you to understand the core of the problem in a way that makes you able to add any special requirements. If you can do that, you can write both a good proposal and good specifications. If you cannot even write a good proposal chances are you are not going to be able to write good specifications to be implemented.

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NUUO, do not want! CCTV webcams can be hacked to spy on you

Christian Berger
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Well, yes, but...

imagine the manufacturer closes the first bug. If you used the second bug to get a normal account, you can still use that account.

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Watt the heck is this? A 32-core 3.3GHz Arm server CPU shipping? Yes, says Ampere

Christian Berger
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Re: Drivers?

"It's nothing to do with drivers, an ARM server will have drivers for the hardware fitted in it, and it's rare that a server will have anything else installed into it that would require drivers."

That means you'll be limited to the kernel versions the manufacturer supports, which means that you'll have you typical "Smartphone" situation where you need manufacturer support to get updates.

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Christian Berger
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"The bigger problem that has held ARM back in data centre is about drivers"

Yes and that's actually the main advantage of "x86" these days. With "x86" you have the "IBM-PC" a well defined hardware platform which allows you to boot your OS and ennumerate the hardware and talk to screen and keyboard in a rudimentary way without any special drivers. For many applications you can "port" an image designed for a server from one vendor to another one just by swapping the disk.

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Microsoft pulls plug on IPv6-only Wi-Fi network over borked VPN fears

Christian Berger
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Re: Welcome to the real world, MS

Well NAT64/DNS64 is just as broken as IPv4 NAT, but people have not yet adapted to it.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Why do we need IPv6

"IPv4 at least makes it hard for them to call their maker and very hard for their maker to cold call them. I think that's good, not bad."

Yes, but that's largely irrelevant as they'll simply connect to their makers or try their best to circumvent NAT. After all virtually all of those IP-Cameras joining botnets were behind NAT.

BTW consumer routers with IPv6 support will still block unconfigured connections coming from the outside.

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Christian Berger
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One should note that we had bigger transitions

I mean IPv4 and IPv6 are different networks, but they share the same infrastructure.

On the other hand, we have successfully transitioned from ISDN to IPv4. There used to be a time when sending a file meant to dial up a Fritz!Data or Eurofile server and transfer the file that way.

And yes, some people still use ISDN data calls, and of course phone calls, but that's such a tiny fraction that we went from tunneling IPv4 over ISDN to tunneling ISDN over IPv4.

We are currently in a similar transition with IPv6. We used to tunnel IPv6 over IPv4, but more and more ISPs now tunnel IPv4 over IPv6, since they need to spend money on NAT for IPv4 anyhow.

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Christian Berger
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Does that mean they'll bring out an IPv6 stack for Windows?

Or do they have a NetBIOS share with Trumped Winsock for IPv6?

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Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

Christian Berger
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Re: Code reviews are for

An interresting question here would be if we should have "anonymous" code reviews. Under such a CoC people could complain about being treated unfairly if they code gets a really bad review.

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Christian Berger
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Re: Linux has become too big

Well yes, but Linux being big, in terms of LoC is one of the reason we need a good gatekeeper.

Every line of code is dangerous. Therefore we need to weigh the benefits against the problems. Inexperienced programmers often underestimate the problems and overestimate the benefits of new code.

It's in a way like in a surgery room, you don't want to many unqualified people in there.

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Christian Berger
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I'm worried

Although treating each other well is a great thing to do, CoCs have been abused over and over again both with and without intention.

We need strong gatekeepers to the Linux kernel, because bugs in it can habe terrible consequences. Considering we currently have an oversupply of people who want to program in "Open Source" projects with most of them not yet being good enough for kernel code, we already see a presure of bad code getting into the kernel.

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The internet – not as great as we all thought it was going to be, eh?

Christian Berger
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Well the problems mostly lie within the Web and IPv4

The Web has grown from a moderately good idea to something which had every feature abused in terrible ways and lots of new terrible features added.

And with now most users being behind NAT, that keeps them from having their own websites without having to invest in hosting.

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How have the BBC, Rovio and more put serverless to work?

Christian Berger
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Doesn't the BBC use Syncopatico?

I think I've heard about that on one of their documentaries.

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You'll never guess what you can do once you steal a laptop, reflash the BIOS, and reboot it

Christian Berger
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Re: Physical Access

"Maybe not - but if they can reflash the firmware, they can put in a keylogger or whatever trojan nonsense they want."

Now "Secure" Boot proponents will tell you that "Secure" Boot saves you from that. However there is a simple workaround to that. Company notebooks typically are from a narrow range of devices easily obtained by any attacker:

Just get the same model, install some form of software mimicking a system booting up then asking for a password and displaying a "wrong password" screen while sending the password off to you.

Then you use some social engineering and secretly swap the laptops. Claim to be from another branch of the same company and leave your business card with your mobile phone number.

Once the victim enters the password, you have it and can unlock the computer. Eventually the victim will suspect there having been a mixup and call you to swap them back.

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Lenovo Thinkpad X280: Choosing a light luggable isn't so easy

Christian Berger
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It's sad to see that so far no model could fully improve on the X200

I mean, sure the X250 is said to have a larger battery capacity and you can apparently swap the external one while it's running on the internal one.

However there are some models like the X240 or this X280 trainwreck which just lack essential features people desperately need, like the middle trackpoint button or Ethernet. I wonder how those decisions got made.

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Christian Berger
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Re: W. T. F. ?

And no easy to replace battery. I mean the X250 has the nifty concept of 2 batteries, one internal one (which you need a screwdriver and a quiet place to replace) and one you can replace on the go.

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Look at me! Phone industry contracts nasty case of 5g-itis

Christian Berger
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Re: And what is 5G?

Well the objective can't be speed, as that can already be achieved with LTE. LTE also allows for low processing power nodes for applications like IoT, or for new modulation schemes to be added, or beam forming, or macro-diversity and the like. That's why it's called Long Term Evolution.

5G is so far, mostly about redefining every protocol to be tunneled though HTTP without actually having any new desirable features.

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A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds

Christian Berger
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I fail to see what's so special about this

I mean we all have been in situations where spending a few Euros would have saved the company hundreds or thousands of Euros, but those few Euros were to expensive or the procurement processes were to slow.

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It's been 5 years already, let's gawp at Microsoft and Nokia's bloodbath

Christian Berger
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Not really a failure

He did exactly what he was put into Nokia for, lowering the company value so it would be easier to buy.

Maybe Microsoft wanted to have a company to build their Windows phones, maybe they were afraid of Meego, which received virtually no ad money or device support and yet outsold Windows phones by far.

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Supermicro wraps crypto-blanket around server firmware to hide it from malware injectors

Christian Berger
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Re: Of course it's not

And then of course, other attackers will get the keys from the attackers who were in the position to demand them from Supermicro.

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Christian Berger
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Of course it's not

I mean attackers will just demand those keys from Supermicro in order to get their malware running.

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Official: Google Chrome 69 kills off the World Wide Web (in URLs)

Christian Berger
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Re: AMP

"AMP page which is hosted by Google and has slow JavaScript disabled."

Yes and has lots of JavaScript added by Google which slows down page loads compared to pages without JavaScript.

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Christian Berger
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Re: The layers keep piling up

Some people don't understand that if you just hide complexity it doesn't get away, and that complexity always incurrs technical debt which you'll have to pay eventually.

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Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday

Christian Berger
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Actually that name is still widely in use

Imagine a socker ball, then look at this Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adidas_Telstar

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Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

Christian Berger
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I never quite understood why one would get a bundle

I mean apparently carriers don't even replace it if it breaks, so in effect you are paying nearly normal price for a limited selection of nearly identical devices. If you are unlucky, you get locked devices which are completely unneccesary work.

I mean there used to be good offers, like the ones from the (now defuct) German carrier QUAM. They offered you a 24 month contract with 10 DM minimal fee. For that you got a "free" mobile, plus 240 DM in debit. So most people simply went there, got a contract, quit it immediately and therefore paid nothing, but walked away with an unlocked mobile phone.

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Boffins are building an open-source secure enclave on RISC-V

Christian Berger
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That's hard

Modern chip making processes are heavily guarded secrets. However what can be done in principle is simpler processes with larger structures.

The problem with this is that you cannot spend as many transistors as you do now. However in theory this could be compensated by better and simpler software. The things that _actually_ take lots of power could still be done in non-free components which are heavily isolated from the rest of the system.

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Christian Berger
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Re: What we would actually need...

Well actually there are some points to that.

First of all, yes you can modify a processor, however that's going to be _really_ hard as you are at an extremely low level. You are at a gate level and try to find out where, in unknown future revisions of the software, you have to do something in order to achieve your goal... while still conforming to the published specs which are very tight. The examples shown in academic paper assume known code which makes it far easier.

So if I was a government I'd go the route via some sort of "security enclave", essentially a separate system hidden from the rest of the system that can run software that patches future unknown code. That's far more realistic to pull off.

BTW you can actually buy processors which are so tightly speced and so simple in construction that you can make reasonably sure there were no malevolent actors involved. The 6502, the Z80 or the ATMega microcontrollers are prime examples for this. So if you can live with a small 8-Bit system, you can be reasonably sure it'll be safe.

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Christian Berger
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What we would actually need...

...would be standards for on chip peripherals, so you will have a standard way of accessing external storage like harddisks or flash. Essentially what we'd need is an "IBM-PC", a well defined set of hardware devices which allow simple porting of operating systems.

It's like on the PC, if you don't have a special graphics card driver, you can still use VGA or VESA as standards to get enough on the screen to be able to debug your OS. Or USB-interfaces, there are only very few ways to interface with USB controllers.

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Christian Berger
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Please no

Nobody has ever done anything positive with those things and usually they turn out to be _huge_ security problems as they often have elevated rights and the one who paid for the hardware has no control over what code it runs.

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Mozilla changes Firefox policy from ‘do not track’ to ‘will not track’

Christian Berger
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Re: That's kinda the minimalist solution

Well the problem is that currently JS-libraries are loaded from their domains which means that those servers will have detailed access logs.

If the libraries came with the browser by default, you could save those http-requests.

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Christian Berger
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That's kinda the minimalist solution

It's apparently a list of "known bad" servers it won't talk to.

A more sensible solution would be to drop the most abused features one by one in the roadmap after providing more sensible solutions. For example they could block loading Javascript from foreign domains after they provided their own cross vendor Javascript standard library.

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Data apocalypse is coming unless you buy AI, declares AI biz

Christian Berger
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If you have to much data...

... maybe you should collect _less_ data and tell your marketing department about it. Sure you'll have less data, but collecting less data gives you an edge over your competitors.

BTW, it's not like you can legally collect data in Europe without knowing what to do with them.

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Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

Christian Berger
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Intel sueing in 3... 2... 1...

I mean Intel and AMD have patents on their instruction set architecture.

Of course they could just emulate >15 year old CPUs which would fit the usecase of most coorporate Windows machines very well. After all few Windows-only Software actually uses anything that came out after 2000.

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AI sucks at stopping online trolls spewing toxic comments

Christian Berger
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Well we are talking about intellects comparable to...

mentaly disabled children. "AIs" are simple machine learning and therefore not very smart.

Now while people usually have reservations against tricking mentaly disabled children, they do not have such reservations against machines. Tricking machines is fair game. In fact it's common for people to hit machines or rub coins on them, scratching their surface just because they believe this will teach them a lesson.

Same goes for complex "Code of Conducts". They are essentially just an invitation to trick them by finding loopholes and be as bad as annoying as you can be while still staying within the limits of the CoC. It's much better to handle conflicts on a case by case basis when they occur.

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No need to code your webpage yourself, says Microsoft – draw it and our AI will do the rest

Christian Berger
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Well back in the 1990s...

... designers could just use some graphic piece of software to lay out their forms however they want them to be.

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Christian Berger
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To contrast that to 1968

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQhVQ1UG6aM

I mean handwriting recognition is not _that_ new.

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