* Posts by John Sturdy

418 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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It's happening! Official retro Thinkpad lappy spotted in the wild

John Sturdy
Flame

It's still a Lenovo

I stopped trusting them from the Superfish incident, and no good characteristics of the hardware will override that.

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US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

John Sturdy

Perhaps by "hash" they mean file size? Which, after all, is a hash, albeit not a very useful one for most purposes. For the government's purpose, in this case, they might find it rather useful: "The sizes of the encrypted files are the same as the sizes of some encrypted porn images. Therefore the files are encrypted porn images, because hash collisions are so rare."

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European MPs push for right to repair rules

John Sturdy
Childcatcher

I'm sure a little "lobbying" from the industries concerned will change the MEPs' minds, and they will declare anything repairable to be dangerous (in case children eat the batteries, or something like that; actually that one is a real risk but banning removable batteries isn't the right solution).

Why don't we have a "brown envelope" (or currency notes) icon?

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Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

John Sturdy
Meh

Re: Bleh

The explanation of anti-submarining bars (on the rear of trucks) that I remember from when they were relatively new was that they wouldn't stop the accidents from being fatal, but at least the car occupants wouldn't be decapitated, thus improving the reputation of the road transport industry.

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US laptops-on-planes ban may extend to flights from ALL nations

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

I'm sure that's not the point

As others have pointed out, this looks like it's really about separating you from your equipment, so that keylogging firmware can be installed (the "evil maid" attack).

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

"Known to the security services" doesn't narrow it down much

We commentards are probably all known to the security services (at least in the sense of "in a security service database"), for posting on a site known not to agree with everything the government says.

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UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late

John Sturdy
Linux

If it's not expensive enough...

If the control software isn't overpriced enough, people will guess that it's actually an unauthorized re-badging of Ardupilot... which has been able to control multi-rotor craft for some time now.

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Confirmed: TSA bans gear bigger than phones from airplane cabins

John Sturdy
FAIL

Re: Disappointing

I think it's probably more to do with separating passengers from their laptops, for convenience in raiding the laptops (planting keyloggers, like the first stage of an "Evil maid" attack, perhaps?).

Or perhaps they really do think it's better for people to put electronic devices in the hold. Remember Lockerbie? Well, it didn't happen over US territory, so I perhaps they dismiss that as irrelevant.

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This is where UK's Navy will park its 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers

John Sturdy
Boffin

Why is fog such a problem?

Why can't a modern ship dock in fog? Isn't that one of the things differential GPS was made for?

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Land Rover's return: Last orders and leather seats for Defender nerds

John Sturdy
Boffin

But it could be fixed by a redesign of the front end of the bodywork, like the Belgian "Minerva" variant with a sloped front.

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World eats its 10 millionth Raspberry Pi

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: How many houses per cat?

There being more Pis than Pi owners is to balance the survey finding that there are many more householders who consider themselves cat owners than there are cats.

So how many Pis per cat?

Big brother icon, because the NSA is sure to be tracking your cats via your catflap computers, and sending the results to MI5.

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Get orf the air over moi land Irish farmer roars at drones

John Sturdy
Happy

The Occupiers' Liability Act

I'm sure there'll be a way round this for the farmers, involving putting up a notice under the Occupiers' Liability Act section 4(2)(h) disclaiming any responsibility towards trespassers. Well it works for everything else, or at least you'd think so going by the number of such signs around the place.

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Fujitsu pivots from chips to leaves with salad-as-a-service

John Sturdy
Happy

Salmiakki lettuce?

If their genetic engineers can get the lettuces to produce ammonium chloride, the produce may keep a lot longer, and be more popular with the Finns.

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Search for MH370 called off after new theory about resting place is ruled out

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Commercial Aircraft Locations

The problem with a telemetry system that can't be turned off by anyone on the plane is that it might overheat and catch fire, but switching it off (even if that means pulling a breaker out rather than a normal switch) may prevent a class of accidents.

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

John Sturdy

Since their pay to stay, Premier Foods have been a company I'd be delighted to see go under, in the hope that whoever moves into their niche will be an improvement. I'm not going to notice their price hikes, because I've not bought from them since then.

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Anti-smut law dubs PCs, phones 'pornographic vendor machines', demands internet filters

John Sturdy
Holmes

Prudishness, or business?

Who could have lobbied for such a law? Prudes and numpties, or publishers of hard-copy porn?

That would be a strange alliance.

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TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

John Sturdy
Alien

Re: "CONFIRM"

Perhaps, like the Minds in the Culture universe, the assistants should choose their own names.

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If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report

John Sturdy
WTF?

Don't knock Albania

Phone coverage isn't the only thing they do better than us; for example, their cafés are much better too. (In fact, Albanian friends assure me that if their café culture wasn't as good and people got out of the cafés a bit more, they could have a really thriving economy. But I think economics may be a bit more complicated than that.)

But seriously, it is embarrassing for the UK when you consider that a fairly poor and very mountainous country beats us at coverage.

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Bluetooth 5.0 emerges, ready to chew on the internet of things

John Sturdy
Big Brother

This could worry the spies

If you get a large enough mesh, it will increase the communication that avoids going via ISPs, and hence reduce the amount of storing and filtering.

On the other hand, it's a radio protocol, and a published one at that, and so implicitly observable by anyone who joins the mesh.

I wonder which way that will play out? (My guess is neither; that areas of mesh won't grow large enough for this to be much of an effect.)

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Sysadmin denies boss's request to whitelist smut talk site of which he was a very happy member

John Sturdy
WTF?

In what kind of company can "to converse with clients" reasonably be given "as the reason the site needed to be whitelisted"?

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Panicked WH Smith kills website to stop sales of how-to terrorism manuals

John Sturdy
Happy

Re: They had one job....

And also, for those working at a higher level, Edward Luttwak's "Coup d'Etat --- a Practical Handbook".

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Accessories to crime: Facial recog defeated by wacky paper glasses

John Sturdy
Boffin

Still better...

We need e-paper spectacle frames, so appearance can be changed on the fly.

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Iceland's Pirate Party wins 10 seats, will need unlikely coalition to rule

John Sturdy

Indeed; and those politicians are, on the whole, keen on even larger organizations such as the EU, taking the power even further from the people. The EU, in particular, seems keen to promote the idea that smaller states (such as nations, or even smaller ones where democracy has already been shown to work well) must inherently be at war with each other; which is very convenient for them.

On the other hand, modern communications has started to shrink the world, in the sense of bringing more contacts and information into reach, so effective democracy could become workable on a larger scale than has been done so far; and developments such as Pirate Parties and DemoEx show that there is an alternative to "government as distinct from citizens".

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Lenovo downward dogs with Yoga BIOS update supporting Linux installs

John Sturdy
Linux

Re: How about testing it ?

Perhaps because they haven't worked out how to put something like Superfish onto Linux?

I don't know why anyone trusts Lenovo any more.

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I've arrived on Mars. Argggh, my back!

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Spin is the answer

You don't need to stop the rotation to, for example, connect to a supply / refuelling ship; you can either have a section on the axis that turns (relative to the main body of the ship) on bearings, but is stationary as seen from outside; or you can spin the supply ship before docking.

Propellor-head icon, because they'll be good at managing all these rotating and counter-rotating and co-rotating things.

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First World Problems: John Lewis clients forced to re-register after website 'upgrade'

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

A step forward

If significant numbers of the non-technical public are sufficiently wary of phishing not to have simply re-registered without question, I'm pleasantly surprised.

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Dublin shopkeeper catches forecourt fouler with his pants down

John Sturdy
Coat

Re: Poor chap

Ian Bunkum Smith?

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HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

John Sturdy
Linux

Time for FLOSS firmware for printers?

Perhaps it's time for some people to put together free-as-in-speech firmware for printers, starting with HP printers?

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Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

John Sturdy
Boffin

Yes, I think it's likely Android has been propping Java up for some time now. Unfortunately.

I guess it made sense at the time (in terms of which languages it was easy to get application programmers for) but I wish they'd picked a decent language instead, or just defined the interfaces and told people to call them from whatever they liked.

But back then, SWIG wasn't as good as it is now, and Go hadn't been invented.

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For $800 you can buy internet engineers' answer to US government spying

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Checking back to the underlying maths?

So which parts of the maths could be based on things the NSA have helped to bring to prominence? (I hope that "many eyes" will have helped to check this.)

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Drone bloke cuffed after gizmo stops firemen tackling forest inferno

John Sturdy

No need for any extra equipment?

No need for guns, or other specialized drone-busting equipment --- just fly above the drone and drop water on it!

(Not a serious suggestion, I doubt it's possible to aim a planeload of water that accurately at a small moving target.)

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Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

John Sturdy
Coat

C++ comment syntax?

C++ didn't introduce the //. It reintroduced it; it came from BCPL, a predecessor of C.

Mine's the mammoth-skin cloak.

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John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: IDE?

Emacs does all that (including, for a more keystrokes, boxed comments, should your really want them).

One keystroke does most of the commenting stuff: start a comment, realign an existing comment, comment out a block of code or uncomment it back in again.

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Get ready for mandatory porn site age checks, Brits. You read that right

John Sturdy
FAIL

That's easy

Just make the login process take 18 years. By the time it completes, you're old enough.

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Can Ireland's grid green satisfy Facebook and Apple?

John Sturdy
FAIL

It's worse than that

Ireland still burns peat in power stations, thus digging up what is rapidly becoming a scarce ecosystem, and producing sod all power from it, if you'll pardon the pun.

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

John Sturdy

B&Q have also tried "pay to stay" with suppliers, but were careful not to do it in writing.

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John Sturdy

Re: Cheeky but effective?

I think Premier Foods backed down (but I'm still not knowingly buying their products, as they've shown what kind of people their management are).

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

John Sturdy

Re: Just when I think I've firmly decided on Remain

Exactly. I don't like protectionism, and try to avoid buying products that I know have such protection.

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BBC's micro:bit retail shipments near

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

There's hope for us yet!

I'm glad it's not designed to encourage people to write bloatware from the start.

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Brits who live in 'smart cities' don't really know or care

John Sturdy
FAIL

A smart city shouldn't be casually detectable

If you notice your city being smart around you, it's not smart.

Things like this should Just Work, quietly and inconspicuously.

Maybe over the long term you might notice things working better than they did before, but moment-to-moment, things you notice are likely to cockups.

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Flinging Slack at them won't get team talking – senior Etsy engineer

John Sturdy

Re: WTF?

Sometimes it's handy to have something that shows the messages as they come in, without having to take an explicit step of "reading mail". IRC FTW.

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Is Dublin becoming as unaffordable as San Francisco?

John Sturdy

Re: Housing shortage

And Limerick has excess housing, and also possibly an excess of tech workers (maybe now commuting?) left over from when Dell went.

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Would you let cops give your phone a textalyzer scan after a road crash?

John Sturdy

That one's easy to filter

It's likely that what you'll do after a crash is to whip out your phone and dial the emergency number (999 / 112 / 911 / whatever) which is a distinct and well-known number that cops should be capable of recognizing.

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USB-C adds authentication protocol

John Sturdy

Yes, my first thought was "Apple are going to love this." For better or for worse.

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Tay talks back: What made you think you beat me?

John Sturdy
Childcatcher

With the latest compact hardware

Furby 3.0, thy name is Tay.

Or maybe the Barbie Liberation Front might get involved and plant some new, liberated, voiceboxes in the Barbies, Kens, and G.I. Joes?

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Blighty starts pumping out 12-sided quids

John Sturdy

Re: Parking and Vending Machines

Because it would have to be online, which requires either installing a wired connection, or paying for mobile data?

Plus the privacy concerns, of course, as raised by others.

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Reddit's warrant canary shuffles off this mortal coil

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

The NSA might even like that

The problem with that is that it gives more information to the NSA, as they look at which users stop using the service when the canary disappears; it'll be a clue as to who wants to hide what.

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Furious English villagers force council climbdown over Satan's stone booty

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Re: The compensation culture at work!

The rock clearly is designed with human fallibility in mind: it appears to have suffered little, if any, damage from the collision.

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Greatly reassured.

We are all known to the authorities.

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John Sturdy

The only way that banning the anonymous sale of phones is not going to increase phone theft is phone theft already being at a high enough level to cover the criminal need for anonymous phones.

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