* Posts by Paul Hovnanian

1132 posts • joined 16 Mar 2008

Denmark dynamited by cunning American Minecraft vandals

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Re: Just imagine...

Someone might even burn the White House down.


US Supreme Court to decide if cops can search mobes without a warrant

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Re: Very debatable matter

Police station? I doubt the local town precinct will be equipped to do such forensics. Or have the trained personnel available. Its more likely that the phone will be secured and sealed into a 'Faraday cage' bag (to prevent remote wipe signals) and transported to a regional lab facility.

This makes the immediate search point moot. You don't want the local cops scrolling through the received messages (the test case that brought this before the Supremes). That is likely to trigger an automatic wipe if your suspect is a knowledgeable (and high value) target. So getting a warrant should be a non issue.

My jacket. The one with the foil-lined pockets.

All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Re: Women are more important for the survival of a population

Makes sense. Evolution supposes that all (most?) women will be involved in reproduction. The men will be sorted out into alphas and betas. So by introducing genetic variances into the male population, its easier to test the bad ones out.

"Get those female friends of yours down the gym and see who can lift the most. Unless you're the archetypal 7 stone weakling you'll breeze it."

This places members of this gender into the "testing out" process. The strongest will be the ones to step out of the cave and defend the clan against the saber-toothed tiger. In one scenario, only the strongest survive to return. In another, the weak stay behind. The strong become tiger food while the weak hang around the cave, reinforcing a genetic reversion to the mean.

Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise

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They can have Fucking, Austria when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

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Re: Village?

"lack of a church"

You worship in your way, I'll do so in mine. Cheers.

FTC: Do SSL properly or we'll shove a microscope up you for decades

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Re: Make Lemonade

Security validated by the FTC, subject to NSA exclusions.

5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

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Re: Last weeks images.

And with two pictures, what was waves will change. Solid objects will not.

Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

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"Whoever was at the controls hoped they'd create a lasting mystery"

Possible, even as part of a suicide. Suicide might trigger a non payment clause in an insurance policy. Or just bring shame down upon the family. So fly somewhere you think they won't look and if they do find wreckage, fly long enough so the cockpit voice recorder overwrites the initial cockpit takeover.

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

"Because pilots are trained to sort out the problem first and then communicate with ATC last. Aviate, navigate, communicate - in that order."

So why did they fiddle with the transponder?

And if the fire took it out, what sort of damage 'footprint' would take that system out but leave the SATCOM system powered for the duration of the flight?

MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

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I could have sworn ...

... the pilot was heard on the shortwave calling, "Come in Rangoon. Come in Rangoon."

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Re: Solving the flight time problem

I would expect that any competent airline would fill out a load sheet (necessary for calculating weight and balance, setting trim, etc.) for each flight. That would include the passenger and crew count (multiplied by a standard weight), luggage and cargo (actual weight) and fuel. Given the CYA attitude of most operators, even if its not a requirement there is probably a copy filed somewhere.

Target ignored hacker alarms as crooks took 40m credit cards – claim

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Re: what you get for "outsourcing" something as critical as IT Security.

Insource or outsource, if the same people who designed and built it administrated it and monitored it for intrusions, I think it would have been caught and fixed much sooner.

Essentially, you give one organization responsibility to perform a function and leave the details to them. It doesn't matter if they use a DBMS or an office building full of elves and filing cabinets. As long as they keep it running to spec, who cares?

Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

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I wouldn't be surprised if that site goes through an IPO in the next few years.

US gov claims it spent TOO MUCH on wiretaps – and blames SPRINT

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Next, they'll be charging us for the bullet they use at our execution.

Boeing going ... GONE: Black phone will SELF-DESTRUCT in 30 secs

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Big Brother

Re: Boeing makes communications systems already

But this phone isn't a system. It has to work with commercial or even government owned networks. And that's where vulnerabilities exist. Pick up your 'secure' Boeing phone while on a business trip and for all you know, it is talking to a hacked femtocell in the room next door. Or if the telecom is in the hands of a snoopy government, no extra hardware is needed. Odds are all the telecoms equipment has been manufactured to comply with government mandated back doors (see CALEA).

As far as the physical security: Any foreign intelligence service can easily afford to acquire a few dozen of these units to do a bit of trial and error reverse engineering. The security screws will fall pretty quickly. The people who will get caught red-handed trying to mess with the phone's innards are the lowly employees. Who might attempt to pull that micro SD card before their IT security comes around for an audit. I guess they shouldn't have downloaded all that pornhub.com stuff to begin with.

Another climate change myth debunked by proper climate scientists

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Not going to weigh in on either side of these arguments. Just pulling up a comfy chair with my beverage and popcorn.

Make cyberwar a no-no equal to nukes, bio, and chemical attacks, says RSA headman

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Big Brother


Keeping the materials needed to build nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons out of the hands of terrorists, bad guys or rogue states isn't very difficult. At least not compared to the controls needed to keep cyber weapon precursors* out of their hands.

That level of control would make a totalitarian police state green with envy. It would also make the likes of the MPAA, RIAA and the major software houses, who would undoubtedly retain the rights to own/operate such tools, giddy with the thought of no more garage start-ups taking their markets or share their intellectual property.

A background check and permit to own a compiler? I don't think so.

*A PC with a decent tool suite.

Big Data is like TEENAGE SEX

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

'"main challenge is the human element" as big data forces a change to scientific approach - moving from trying to work out why something happens to a "world of correlation based on sample sizes".'

But then we always hear that correlation is not causation. Sure, you might be able to wring a few interesting patterns out of the data. But if you can't get back to some underlying mechanisms behind the measurements, they mean nothing. You have what is called 'cargo cult science'. We did everything correctly based on the data we had. But, lacking a model of the phenomenon, we missed the pieces for which not data had been, or could be, collected. We kept up the airstrips, but the planes stopped coming.

We are hard wired to find patterns in random noise. Its a survival skill from when spotting the tiger in the tall grass meant survival. But that's a skill humans share with animals. Where we differ is in deduction. Getting to the underlying 'why' behind the data.

Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

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Re: Yes indeedy

Perhaps I don't understand it either.

Given some finite subsequence, there is an upper bound on its sum. That is, if the sequence selected happened to be a run of all '+', the sum will be equal to the length of that subsequence. It can't be bigger.

Now, given the original infinite subsequence, its sum is determined by probability. The most probable sum is zero, but there is some probability that it is greater (or less). And given most probability distributions (that I am familiar with), they approach but never reach a probability of 0 at a sum of +/- infinity. So there is a non-zero probability that there is a sequence sum larger than any bounded value that I can think of.

Or there's something about infinite series and probabilities that I'm missing.

Another U.S. state set to repeal rubber duck ban

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Big Brother

Re: *facepalm*

Its like money laundering. Yes, its the betting that is illegal. But given law enforcement's inability to curb some activity, they go after something related to it. Can't be bothered to look for some criminal activity? Then just crack down on the transfer of funds which results from it. Never mind the other legitimate activities sharing this same trait.

Possession of multiple rubber ducks is a sure sign of illegal gambling and must be monitored by a designated authority. There will be an inevitable IRS tax form.

'The Mystery of the Martian Doughnut' solved by NASA sleuths

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

There's some guy in NASA's spacecraft final preparation group who has been wondering all this time where he set down his jelly dougnut.

Japanese fanboi first in queue for, er, iPhone 6

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Another iPhone Queue

It was inevitable.

Netflix speed index shows further decline in Verizon quality

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Re: this kind of service for that kind of price.

"Except the phone companies have been socialistic since their inception in the US."

Not by its own choice. And until 1984, there was only one. Congress and the FCC mandated various forms of price leveling to provide 'equity' for rural customers. After Ma Bell was broken up, urban and rural customers were not necessarily even served by the same company. So the government stepped in and created a Universal Service Fund to subsidize rural service. The phone companies are good old free market capitalist exploiters to the extent that the government lets them.

The issue of FiOS or cable or wireless broadband providing or not providing different service types is one of non competition. My broadband provider advertises network, TV and phone nationally. But contact them from my home address and phone service is not available. I'm not even supposed to run VoIP (although I do) because the phone company, cable company and wireless providers have carved up the markets among themselves.

Twitter may sue US government over right to disclose snooping orders

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Re: To get around the muzzling orders...

"My own inclination would be Iceland, with both reasonable laws and power availability."

Dragged our submarine's anchor across your fiber optic cables. Sorry about that. Perhaps if we had more involvement in the traffic they carry, we'd be more careful next time.

UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on

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Re: Post war operations

We knew nothing*. But after the war, we talked the Brits (and other Commonwealth members) into smashing all the technology to bits. Or the Soviets might get it. Meanwhile we went on to commercialize that very same technology.

*Interesting anecdote: A British telephone company engineer pioneered the use of vacuum tube logic in one of the versions of Colossus. When an American counterpart came over to look at the new machine (the US had built an older, relay based version), the Brits showed it to him. He asked if it would be possible to see it in operation and was told that it was (vacuum tubes being silent compared to the noisy relay logic of the older system).

fWHoaR! Researcher crack eternal mystery of what women want in a man

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Makes sense. fWHR might be subconsciously related to overall "body width". Back in the old days, weight was related to wealth and power. If you were rich/powerful enough to eat well while the peasants were starving ......

This has carried forward into almost modern times. Portrayals of rich and powerful men were often more portly. From kings to the stereotypical fat sheriff/mayor in American redneck towns.

The other point that is interesting was the fWHR as an indication of desirability for short-term relationships. It reinforces some other studies that undermine monogamy among homo sapiens. Women choose the best genetic material with which to conceive their children. But they choose a husband based on one least likely to run off with the younger secretary due to his lower social position.

And just for the sake of honesty: Fathead checking in here.

London's King of Clamps shuts down numberplate camera site

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Re: Scary Stuff

Some of the ANPR systems used in my city use active illumination and are quite accurate both day and night.

The scene is illuminated with an infrared flash which works in conjunction with the license plate retroreflective background to produce a very high contrast image. I'm not certain, but some systems may take a second picture without the flash and subtract this background data from the IR illuminated one, leaving only the reflected regions in the data (a fast and expensive camera is needed).

The resulting success rate is high enough to encourage compliance with tolling and parking regulations with a minimum of human oversight. You might get away with the occasional infraction, but with a reliability of over 50%, you will get caught more often than not.

US feds want cars conversing by 2017

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Whats ...

.... the broadcast code for "Move aside. An El Reg reader is coming through."

Brit security startup turns to France for help

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Not the country then? Good. They didn't fall for the big wooden rabbit. GCHQ still has a chance.

Apple seeks patent for mood-sensing technology

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Apple user detected

Mood: Overly smug.

El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

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Wire Nuts

Twist-on connectors if you must respect trademarks.

Perhaps more of a USAian thing, as I see screw-type terminal blocks in EU wiring (when I look).

Google's Nest gobble: Soon ALL your HOME are BELONG to US

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It's inevitable ....

The Nest 9000

Time travellers outsmart the NSA

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We're here!

Looking for a prescient post?

Windows 9 is a bigger dog than Windows 8/8.1 was.

Curiosity rover: While you humans were busy being hungover, this bot hit its 500th Martian day

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Re: auld lang syne


Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

I have a number of these. An FX-550 got me through an EE degree (on one battery). I have a collection of HPs, including the HP-41C, HP-28S (which I carry today along side a slide rule). I have a few TI-59s in the collection as well. Then there's my HP-16C, excellent for doing binary/hex math and bit manipulation. Plus a pile of 'lesser' calculators and slide rules.

I'm keeping my eyes open for an HP-9100A or B. Desktop rather than pocket sized, but worthy of my collection. Also a Curta would be nice.

Alicia Keys throws in towel on BlackBerry's creative director job

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"BlackBerry phones are losing Keys?"

Came to post same joke. Modded you up instead. Left satisfied.

Microsoft tries to trademark 'Mod' in the US

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Mod? Metro?

We have another name for it. But I'm not certain the USPTO will grant a trademark for something made up from the number keys shifted.

Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

99 to 1?

Then leave it to the market. No sense in the 99 getting their panties in a bunch over what I drive or how I heat my house. Their collective actions will far outweigh mine, making all the arguments over my behaviour moot.

NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
Big Brother

"US person"

The NSA's link analysis identifies persons communicating with foreign entities and targets them for further investigation. In fact, in the world of security clearances, doing business with foreign entities can get you classified as a "non US Person" whether you are a US citizen or not.

So, how many of you have received the ubiquitous letter from that wealthy Nigerian ex-government minister wishing to transfer funds overseas? Communicating with foreign national? Check. Possible involvement in transfer of funds from/to overseas? Check.

You're on the list, buddy!

It wouldn't surprise me at all if a certain number of these 419 scams were NSA pretexts to justify further surveillance.

Microsoft's licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Monkey trap

Microsoft gets right arm stuck: Solution is to chew off left arm just so it won't happen again.

To fel with you! There's an NSA spook in my World of Warcraft

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Monitoring suspected terrorist communications networks within MMORPGs. At least that's what they tell the boss when they get caught playing WoW on company time.

Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

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Re: interesting but...

Hand cranked generators typically require (almost) continuous low level work input. This scheme requires an occasional high level work input and no attention between times. Wind up devices fall between these two cases.

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Next step: Whip up a general purpose generator kit. Offer it with some interchangeable gears (think LEGO*). Let the locals or some NGO group find various input power sources and produce instructions install them. I recall seeing a low power generator running off a crank connected to a paddle in a creek that oscillated in an eddy current.

*We'll need the obligatory Playmobil mockup for proof of concept.

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

"Were I to design this I'd use something like a torque converter."

Better yet, a DC to DC voltage converter. You tweak the conversion ratio to keep the generator running at a peak efficiency point while providing constant output current (to an LED array) or constant voltage (to charge a battery). The firmware, once developed, is much cheaper per unit than knocking off copies of a mechanical device. The microcontrollers can be had for pennies apiece.

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

For pumped storage, you need water. Even though you can pump it back up, there will be system losses. Water is scarce in many third world countries. Rocks are plentiful.

Asus Transformer Book T100: Xbox One? PS4? Nah, get a cute convertible for Christmas

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Re: $299 vs £350

What is that in Big Macs?

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Re: Looks like a modernised netbook

Sometimes its better to install your own favorite distro. I have an EeePC with an OEM Linux system. It works quite well, but I continually run into a few places where Asus saw fit to install some crippled version of a 'standard' utility.

Thanksgiving ROAST in SPAAACE: Comet ISON faces FIERY SUN DEATH

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Re: Intelligent design at Nasa?

"I think our ancestors left the trees a lot more then one million years ago..."

I return from time to time: http://www.hovnanian.com/images/treetrim.jpg

US senator asks: Will Bitcoin replace Swiss bank accounts?

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

"Anonymous currency is a destabilizing problem for any country attempting to hold legitimate elections."

Well, as already stated, you can't buy votes directly. But what all this cash does buy is media access. Throw a few hundred million at an election and it doesn't end up in the candidates or the voters back pockets. It ends up in the pockets of the media machine. Attack this problem* to reduce the demand for cash to run a successful campaign and the whole anonymous funds problem becomes a smaller issue.

*Shorten the election season. Candidates don't have to travel across the country by horseback or train anymore. You go before the cameras or on line, state your piece and the people vote. Sure, TV time will still cost a bundle per minute. But you reduce the number of minutes available to campaign.

Xbox One site belly-up in global Microsoft cloud catastrophe

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Are we going to start calling this ASOD (the Azure Screen of Death)?

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