* Posts by John H Woods

2545 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Twitter's blue tick rule changes may lower the sueball barrier

John H Woods
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Re: This Has Been Going On For Some Time

Exactly - withdrawal of the blue tick is half-hearted: they should withdraw the account if it violates ToS, and only withdraw the blue tick if it turns out that the account belongs to an imposter.

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Fear not, driverless car devs, UK.gov won't force you to write Trolley Problem solutions

John H Woods
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trolley problem is a distraction

It may be true that computers aunt equipped to make moral judgements but, in the time frames involved in a road traffic collision, neither are people.

This is why the rule is very simple: drive at all times so that, taking all factors into consideration (weather, road surface, vehicle condition, driver ability etc.), you can stop the vehicle on its own side of the road in the distance you can see to be clear.

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Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

John H Woods
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Get close to someone's wage...

... of course that would also break the market. As with speed limits the fact that you can set it too low or too high doesn't mean it's a bad idea in itself

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John H Woods
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Re: A shorter term problem

You realise that people can throw in the towel right now and be on benefits?

People prefer to earn money. UBI gets t set at a level that stops you freezing to death starving to death or dying of illness where medicine is not socialised. Almost everybody would prefer to work a few extra hours to earn some money for luxuries that is how capitalism works or is supposed to.

Means-tested benefits are profoundly anti-capitalist, they break the functioning of the market at the lower end of the income scale.

Now unless you are one of those anarcho capitalists you believe that people shouldn't die of poverty, and there should be a safety net. UBI is just a much fairer more efficient and more flexible way of implementing that net.

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Your next laptop will feature 'CMF' technology

John H Woods
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Best laptop that's ever been in this family ...

A refurb i7 T430 from ebay, maxed out RAM, SSD for dual booting O/Ses, SSHD in a dual bay replacing the optical drive, and the higher res screen (1440x900 I think). Cost about 250 to put all that together. For another 50 I got some doohickey to connect the PCI-Express external port to a big box, in which I put a decent PSU and a very decent graphics card --- and adding the best monitor I could afford brought all the extras to about 700.

Result - a one grand rig that can deliver pretty serious gaming performance, where the laptop element, which can be detatched and taken to lectures (and maybe even the library?!), is a robust boring relatively replaceable unit that is perfectly sufficient for work and fairly unappealing to high end lappy thieves.

The really amazing part is that there's almost no modern laptop that could take the place of the T430 here. They're too expensive or they don't even match the performance of this old box. They have glossy screens making them less useful for work. They're too fragile to really be considered a portable, no-nonsense device. And, very very few of them have external interfaces fast enough to use a decent external graphics set up.

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Shut the front door: Jewson 'fesses up to data breach

John H Woods
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Obligatory

"They've hacked the Jewson lot"

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MPs slam HMRC's 'deeply worrying' lack of post-Brexit customs system

John H Woods
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"depends on us agreeing something with the EU"

That sounds like hard coding business logic into a system if ever I saw it.

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Mm, sacrilicious: Greggs advent calendar features sausage roll in a manger

John H Woods
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British Sausages.

At least they're not German ones ... they're the wurst

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Stop worrying and let the machines take our jobs – report

John H Woods
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The current state of AI ...

Me: "Hey are you joining us for dinner?"

He: "Hi John, no not tonight, thanks"

FB Messenger: "Start plan [for tonight?]"

I haven't seen anything that remotely convinces me we have Turing Test capable robots now, or that we can expect them in the near future.

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'Lambda and serverless is one of the worst forms of proprietary lock-in we've ever seen in the history of humanity'

John H Woods
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Re: Living in a buble

first Xmas Freudian typo?

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Your future data-centre: servers immersed in box full of oil, in a field

John H Woods
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The harder problem is "in a field"

As someone with a bit of a sideline in rural IT, I have encountered "open-air" problems you just wouldn't believe. Rodents, insects, birds, curious big mammals (including thieves) --- and that's before the weather. I mean you can rainproof all you like but a sudden drop in the external temp often causes internal condensation. And dirt. Where does all that dirt come from? And how did it get in here?

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El Reg assesses crypto of UK banks: Who gets to wear the dunce cap?

John H Woods
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Re: It's not a problem, it's an opportunity

You could even outsouce some tasks to the commentards

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The Google Home Mini: Great, right up until you want to smash it in fury

John H Woods
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Google ..

... regularly tells me of heavy traffic when I am already on a train jouney it reminded me to get on (usually sometime after I got on).

Also, wheneven the train stops, it says stuff like "At the Mailbox? Post a review"

I've started to think that a lot of people who are shouting "I AM ON THE TRAIN" are actually talking to their digital assistants.

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Neglected Pure Connect speaker app silenced in iOS 11's war on 32-bit

John H Woods
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Re: Sale of Goods Act

"Arguably it's limited to it's warranty"

The length of the warranty is largely irrelevant. My 10 quid splashproof Bluetooth speaker also had a warranty for a year. I doubt a SoGA case for a 13th month fao lure would be a success. But if you're shelling out serious wedge for audio equipment, and you treat it nicely you have a reasonable expectation of longevity. I think 5 year is reasonable and 2 probably a minimum (he says, looking at a pair of massive Acoustic Energy speakers he bought a quarter century ago, e.g. which have survived half a dozen house moves, four cats, three dogs and three kids. And also survived collision with a pony ... don't ask)

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Look! Over there! Intel's cooked a 17-qubit chip quantum package

John H Woods
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complete waste of time

I'll be surprised if thats fewer than 99% of us.

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RDX removable disk has ransomware protection begging to be bypassed

John H Woods
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too expensive

For this price to can buy a micro server, a couple of 2TB drives and setup BSD/ZFS.

Snapshot every minute and it's as good as ransom proof.

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

John H Woods
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Chinese Room

"Machines may be made so that they computationally model the brain, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll have minds."

Isn't this John Searle's "Chinese Room" argument? It suggests that Turing-Test capable devices may still not be really "intelligent" whereas I tend to wonder "how would we know?"

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What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

John H Woods
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Re: Nixon

If only his dad had pulled out early

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China cools on Apple's high-priced iBling

John H Woods
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Re: Bellend Message

^G^D

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Dildon'ts of Bluetooth: Pen test boffins sniff out Berlin's smart butt plugs

John H Woods
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just read article to wife ...

... and explained how the passive reconnaissance is performed. She's still trying to get over the fact that you can dectect buttplugs with a "sniffer"

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Nadella says senior management pay now linked to improving gender diversity

John H Woods
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Re: Symptom of bullshit job

"Are most IT jobs actually bullshit jobs where the performance in the role actually has little impact on the org?"

Yes.

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Guntree v Gumtree: Nominet orders gun ads site must lose domain

John H Woods
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gBay

n/t

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Angst in her pants: Alleged US govt leaker Reality Winner stashed docs in her pantyhose

John H Woods
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I hope she didn't take all 81 pages in one go...

on a decent laser printer, 4-up is readable: Print in duplex and ditch the title page and you've got exactly 10 sheets of A4 - max 1mm thickness of 80gsm paper.

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Ransomware keeping cops, NHS and local UK gov bods awake at night

John H Woods
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Re: Quick and dirty interim solution

"It's a terrible idea because you're naively copying around clinical data containing the most sensitive personal information ..."

With respect, data that is already on a simple network share of the type that is most vulnerable to a ransomware infected client encrypting the lot is already stored "... with no heed paid to audit, retention or access control."

Nothing to stop you using an encrypted FS for the private storage. But even if you don't you're hardly increasing your exposure any more than having a secondary backup system.

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John H Woods
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Quick and dirty interim solution

1. Add a server with its own private storage to the network share and regularly copy changed files in the network share to the private storage.

Something like rsync --backup --suffix `date +%Y%m%dT%H%M%S` network_share private_storage

2. Image disks of of client machines whose function is important

Once you have these in place, you start a strategic review of ransomware strategy.

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Patch alert! Easy-to-exploit flaw in Linux kernel rated 'high risk'

John H Woods
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/boot too small

Just live boot from a distro that understands your FS and re-partition.

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Playboy founder and dressing-gown wearer Hugh Hefner dead at 91

John H Woods
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apparently...

... they had a hell of a time trying to get the coffin lid on.

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El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

John H Woods
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USB-C -> iSCSI

USB C -> SATA -> iSCSI

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Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

John H Woods
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Re: Defeating Draconian laws

"It's been proven that hidden volumes are detectable..."

There are indeed bugs and operational errors that can reveal them. In the absence of these, it's very hard to prove the existence of such a volume unless you have an opportunity to repeatedly image the disk.

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Viacom exposes crown jewels to world+dog in AWS S3 bucket blunder

John H Woods
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which is it?

"no material impact" or "rectified the issue"

The only way to really rectify the issue (from the technical perspective) is to change everything that has been exposed (keys, passwords, maybe even server names). From a management perspective, there's even more work to do to prevent even a partial repetition.

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DXC squeezes suppliers for extra margin, issues ultimatum

John H Woods
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"Where do you think British manufacturing went or hadn't you noticed?"

I wish people wouldn't say this, Britsh manufacturing has a hard enough time without the constant refrain that we don't have much. The U.K. is a pretty major global manufacturer: bottom of the top 10 in the world, perhaps, but still top 10.

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Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

John H Woods
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even simpler

Corporation tax should be 0%

Tax the employees and the owners/shareholders when they take money out.

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Oracle throws weight behind draft US law to curtail web sexploitation

John H Woods
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Re: Aren't there already enough laws?

I rarely agree with Orlowski, but his articles are usually well worth reading... Journalism should challenge one's own preconceptions. And it's hard to find fault in AO's journalism, even if you think his analysis is wrong and some of his opinions are bonkers.

And whilst I would tend to agree that more laws are usually just a noisy distraction, in this instance the article mentions a specific case that was not covered by an existing law... so I did learn something.

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Boffins hijack bootloaders for fun and games on Android

John H Woods
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Re: Is this a problem ?

Always use a USB condom

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Fruit flies' brains at work: Decision-making? They use their eyes

John H Woods
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eyes as brains ...

... makes a lot of sense to me ...there's a lot of processing in visual circuitry before you see anything ... edge detection, etc. From assign evolutionary perspective perhaps ir is most likely that light sensitive cells developed from more general neurons.

The article also reminds me that I didn't really understand what impressionist art was all about until reading Proust's account of the (fictional, I think) painter Elstir ... where he presents as the attempt to capture the raw sensation of light before any such processing has occurred. Actually, there's a lot of great stuff in "In Search of Lost Time" ... if you've got a spare year, i recommend it!

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Hurricane Irma imperils first ever SpaceX shuttle launch: US military's secret squirrel X-37B

John H Woods
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Re: Re. storms

It would be the mutant crocodiles that would worry me!

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Climate-change skeptic lined up to run NASA in this Trump timeline

John H Woods
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Re: Skepticism

"The greens have no realistic replacement for it, no matter what they may claim."

We most certainly do have a replacement, a clean power source that will probably see us through to the establishment of space based solar. That replacement is nuclear power and I can assure you that I am not only "Green" who thinks this.

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It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower

John H Woods
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Re: Personally

Sample size requirements are hard to "intuit"

For instance, if 14 people out of a randomly selected sample of 70 are X, and the remaining 80% non-X, you've already got a 95% confidence that the true population frequency of X people is between 12% and 28%, however big the population.

This is why you can get reliable polls even if you ask fewer than 1 in 100,000 people. The randomness of the sample is vastly more important than its size.

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'Independent' gov law reviewer wants users preemptively identified before they're 'allowed' to use encryption

John H Woods
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The main requirement for being a silk...

...is being able to persuade a group of laymen of the truth or falsehood of some proposition, determined respectively entirely by who is paying you ... whilst remaining utterly regardless of the truth of the matter.

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I say, BING DONG! Microsoft's search engine literally cocks up on front page for hours

John H Woods
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fortunately...

... My wife has very good eyesight.

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What code is running on Apple's Secure Enclave security chip? Now we have a decryption key...

John H Woods
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"Isn't it a fundamental principle of encryption..."

Indeed: Kerckhoffs' principle

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London council 'failed to test' parking ticket app, exposed personal info

John H Woods
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Re: So yeat another case of "Don't re-check system generated data that's been read back in."

The content of a URL is data! Are you a PHB?

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Russia's answer to Buckminster Fuller has a buttload of CGI and he's not afraid to use it

John H Woods
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Re: Straddling bus

A shoddy prototype was constructed, but the TEB was a scam.

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Apple bag-search class action sueball moves to Cali supreme court

John H Woods
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Re: Dear Lord!

The only reason they need to ask a court is because it's the only body whose answer is authoritative. Obviousness is an irrelevance.

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Strip club selfie bloke's accidental discharge gets him 6 years in clink

John H Woods
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"He's lucky it didn't go off in his pocket then..."

IS2R some old British Army joke about a serviceman keeping a souvenir weapon he had acquired on manoeuvres which, due to his lack of familiarity with the model, went off in his pocket neatly severing the top of his manhood.

He was drummed out of the army, of course, not for keeping the weapon or any subsequent negligence but because "everyone knows you have to be a complete knob to be in the British Army"

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Red Hat banishes Btrfs from RHEL

John H Woods
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Re: Anyone else just use ext4?

Ext4 locally, ZFS on my fileserver.

My fileserver snapshots my few TB or RaidZ3 every minute. If I've set it up right, there's no remote admin login, so you need physical access to delete snapshots.

I cryptolockered the lot from a throwaway VM attached via NFS and it was possible to rapidly recover every single file from snapshots... I didn't even need to restore anything from backup.

ZFS is marvellous... Let's just get the licence issue resolved...

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Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

John H Woods
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995 vs 1005

Very reasonable argument but I would suggest there are two significant complications.

1st, I don't think even a quite narrow set of skills can be measured on a one dimensional index.

2nd, I don't think even Google has got hiring practices that ensure they never hire people below the 99 percentile.

But the principle problem with his manifesto is context rather than intrinsic quality. The guy is not an anthropologist publishing a paper for a research department.

I could produce some pretty good science to support the Peter Principle and the Denning Kruger Effect but I don't think I'd submit a paper on these if my company asked for my thoughts on how people were selected for promotion!

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John H Woods
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Facts and context...

It is a fact that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the USA. I don't for a moment think it has anything to do with being black, but it's a fact. I would be very against the firing of, e.g., an anthropologist who published some work looking into explaining this fact.

But, if my employer were to say "our employee diversity doesn't sufficiently represent our country's diversity, let's do something about that" it would be utterly contemptible for another employee to say "I'm not a racist, but blacks commit disproportionately more crime in the USA."

On a purely technical level, it's irrelevant. As hiring policies presumably address candidates' convictions before inviting to interview, a black candidate or employee is clearly no more likely to be a criminal than a white one. But more importantly, in the *context* of a discussion on employee diversity, expression of this fact is completely unacceptable.

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