* Posts by Paul Hovnanian

1092 posts • joined 16 Mar 2008

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

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

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.

1
0

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

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

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.

1
0
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.

1
0
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.

1
0
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.

2
0

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

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: $299 vs £350

What is that in Big Macs?

0
0
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.

0
0

Thanksgiving ROAST in SPAAACE: Comet ISON faces FIERY SUN DEATH

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

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

0
0

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.

1
0
Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

"What is this obsession the world has with pedos?"

A universal revulsion that can be directed against any activity or object deemed to be facilitating their activity. Its the "Think of the children" argument.

Practically any other quasi-criminal activity is subject to varying degrees of unacceptability in different cultures. Drugs, prostitution, dodging the tax man, etc. are not guaranteed to generate the same reaction as pedophilia. So its a useful claim to generate ill will against anything that can be tied to it.

5
0

Xbox One site belly-up in global Microsoft cloud catastrophe

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

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

22
1

If this doesn't terrify you... Google's computers OUTWIT their humans

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: Not sure this is so impressive, and this is dangerous...

"At one level, we as humans learn by being able to choose to do an action to interact with the environment, and learn from / experience the result (the classic being kids playing with blocks trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, etc…). Computers, even massive systems like Google's don't really have the chance to perform actions that effect the world around them."

Ever wonder if Google Maps was running you through a maze with cheese at some end point? And watching intently, collecting information in preparation for the eventual takeover.

I for one, welcome our new overlords.

1
0

Microsoft advertises Surface, Excel with maths mistake

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: The gift that keeps on giving

I bought an SD card formatted FAT32. I didn't see any restrictions in the instructions restricting its use to certain OSs. So I figure I have an implied license to read it as I wish.

1
1

Boffins build R2-WEE-2: The urine-powered robot with a human-like heart

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Joke

Energy from urine?

The New York subway system becomes self sustaining.

0
0

Snowden: Hey fellow NSA worker, mind if I copy your PASSWORD?

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Golden Rule

"I have seen people in a higher position getting pissed of when asked to look the other way for a second."

Poor use of social engineering. You turn around, look past them and exclaim, "Look at the t*ts on that secretary!"

1
0
Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: I don't find this hard to believe

Compartmentalization. Having worked on the periphery of Dept of Defense projects, I've seen quite a bit of this at private contractors. "I have a top secret clearance. So let me see your blueprints." Nope. You have clearance for your project. I have clearance for mine. There are very few people in the DoD chain of command that are authorized to see everything. Never mind the private contractors.

In fact, (and contrary to what I've heard in a few pubs down the road from the plant after work) you're not even supposed to run around telling the public what sort of clearance you've got. Impress the cocktail waitress with some other story.

1
0
Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: And this is security?

"Wonder Woman's lasso of truth"

That has some foundation in reality. In her prime (and that cute outfit), I would have told Lynda Carter anything.

4
0

Oooh! My NAUGHTY SKIRT keeps riding up! Hello, INTERNET EXPLORER

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: Inori is close, but not quite...

Firefox replies with:

http://i.gzn.jp/img/2006/12/16/firefox_logo_cat/fireboob_m.jpg

6
1
Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Geek's Dream Girl/Browser

Cute, doesn't do much. And submits to practically any questionable request.

4
0

Watch out spooks: STANDARDS GROUPS are COMING AFTER YOU

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

CALEA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act

And after all your precious standards work is done, law enforcement will just wave this under your nose. And you'll give them a tap off your backbone. I'm sure all members of the Five Eyes have similar legislation in place.

4
0

You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: 3 of 19

Not certain how things work on your side of the pond. But:

"I received a letter from the Metropolitan Police sent straight to my home address (not via my solicitor which is what they should have done)"

I'd be willing to bet that, absent a court issued warrant, the police figure they'll just ask in a quasi-official mode. And if the suspect offers it up, they are ahead of the game.

4
0

Microsoft in a TIFF over Windows, Office bug that runs code hidden in pics

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Coat

Buffer overrun

Mr Rogers to Microsoft coders: "Can you say 'buffer overrun exploit' boys and girls? I knew you could."

Putting on trademark Cardigan sweater.

4
0

FIERY DEATH awaits all who stroke mobes mid-flight? Nope, says FAA

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

What has changed?

Electronics (Kindle, laptop, iPad) OK above 10,000 feet. Air mode only.

Its been this way for years. So what's with the big hallelujah?

3
1

Cameron pledges public access to list of who REALLY owns firms

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: I just made this suggestion yesterday

"Because if all ownership has to be traced back to a physical person it will be VERY messy."

And if any of the intermediate entities in this chain of ownership are subject to different tax laws, who is to say what the final owners' tax liabilities are?

For example, the (in)famous Irish tax loophole used by a number of US corporations is a legal tax avoidance technique. I am the holder of equities in some of the parent corporations taking advantage of this. But my residency has no bearing on whether this loophole is legal or not. It certainly is no indication of whether I personally am in compliance with my countries (US) tax law. The USA has one of the most far reaching unitary tax regimes in the world. Even here, intertwined corporate holdings are a barrier to my tax liabilities. I don't know how tracing the holdings of residents and corporations in other tax jurisdictions would have any meaning.

1
1

Alien planet is just like EARTH - except for ONE tiny detail

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

"It couldn't have formed in place because you can't form a planet inside a star. It couldn't have formed further out and migrated inward, because it would have migrated all the way into the star. This planet is an enigma,"

It could be a case of orbital resonance. This orbit is stable due to the influences of the other planets.

Or it could be in the process of spiraling into its sun. We can't really be certain of how old that system is or how stable its orbits are from this distance.

1
0

Anonymity is the enemy of privacy, says RSA grand fromage

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Big Brother

Attacks and intrusions will never be prevented by eliminating privacy/anonymity. Most network attacks are launched from distributed networks of infected systems. So the identity of the attack source is easily spoofed. And when the brains siting at the command and control systems are eventually found, odds are they will be resident in a country that refuses to take action against them.

This just sounds like the complaints of a Big Data vendor who has had a couple of major customers have second thoughts.

The real Big Brothers here are the commercial interests that will be harmed if corporations and even the NSA no longer buy their data warehouse solutions.

13
0

In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake don't read this

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

"if you must be available."

There's another interesting take on social interaction. Those who "must be available" are often lower on the corporate pecking order. When the phone rings, it might be a superior. And you'd better take the call. Important people tend to be in charge of (and in control of) their own time. When the phone rings, it can go to voice mail. Or your staff can handle it.

Status impresses everyone, particularly women. And they seem to understand this social dynamic to a greater degree than many men do.

5
0

Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

"That is not actually true. A foreign power cannot go to a US company and demand that a backdoor is placed in their software or that their private keys are handed over."

Demand, no. Put an operative inside the company to do the job? Easy.

Keep in mind, the NSA had a mole: Snowden. A Booz Allan Hamilton contractor. Aside from his altruistic motives, what he did could be repeated as we speak by numerous others. Only the beneficiaries of their work would differ. And if their leaks don't reach The Guardian, we may never know of their existence.

2
0

Ahoy, scalliwags! FBI claims another haul of Silk Road booty - $26m of it

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Coat

"Exactly how the bureau was able to trace the funds to Ulbricht and take control of them, however, the FBI official wouldn't say."

That's what I'd like to hear. Grabbing a copy of an encrypted wallet means nothing if you don't have the passphrase and/or you can't transfer the funds to another account (wallet).

Also, I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has developed a BitCoin wallet with a dead man switch. Don't log in and reset it (in police custody, for example) and it initiates a transaction to move the funds to some anonymous accounts.

I could have sworn the wallet was in this pocket. Oh well .....

5
0

Open-source hardware hacking effort 'smacked down' by USB overlords

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Protecting USB-IF Members' Interests?

It is my understanding that Texas Instruments will share their VID for their USB chipset and issue a PID to customers who don't want to go with their own VID/PID setup.

Similar to what Arachnid proposes to do except that TI is selling a product. And perhaps they want to protect this market from those who chose to go with a competitor or bit-bang their own USB implementation.

http://www.ti.com/mcu/docs/mcuorphan.tsp?contentId=65684&DCMP=USB&HQS=Other+OT+430usb

4
0

Microsoft: You've got it all WRONG. It's Apple's iPad playing catch-up with our Surface

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Reality distortion fields

At least Apple's reality distortion field consumes a lot less battery capacity than Microsoft's.

27
2

Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson battles bullfighting

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Political backdrop

I guess you could say the Spanish government finds itself impaled on the horns of a dilemma.

Sorry, I'll get my coat. The one with Pam's phone number in the pocket.

3
0

The importance of complexity

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

As a non-CS degreed programmer (Electrical Engineer by training) I had the pleasure to work on and manitain an automatic code generation system some years ago. Requirements documents in (written in technical English), executed code out. The original system was written by a couple of flight controls (Mechanical) engineers. It worked just fine.

The CS people screamed that the problem was NP-hard, computationally intractable, etc. But we didn't know what any of that meant, so we got it working. It was actually an interpreter, reading the English input and executing commands in real time (no pre-processing required).

5
0

Swedish teen's sex video fine slashed: Unwilling co-star girlfriend furious

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

"One cannot ignore the circumstances that in not all too small circles of the population, it has with time become increasingly socially acceptable to be very open and outgoing in regard to one's sexual habits," said the court ruling.

Yes, we have trailer parks on this side of the pond as well.

0
0

OAR-some! 18ft SEA SERPENT discovered off US coast

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Fishing story

You should have seen the size of the one that got away.

3
0

The legacy IE survivor's guide: Firefox, Chrome... more IE?

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Not my apps to fix

So what do we do if we have something to support with a tiny market share and no more manufacturer's support? I'm thinking of a PLC vendor (who shall remain nameless) who appears to have gone out of their way to ensure the presence of IE6 as a condition of running their (proprietary) development web interface.

We've tried to port their app to a more advanced version of IE. No luck. Same thing with porting to Wine. This app actually goes looking for stuff (DLLs, etc.) that it doesn't appear to use. Just to make sure you are using their 'blessed' version of Windows/IE6.

Tearing the PLCs out looks like the only option. But that's going to be expensive from both a hardware point of view and the person hours (Have to say that. Some of our alpha geeks are female.) to port the ladder logic. We aren't even aware of the scope of the problem, as some of our customers don't discover this brand of hardware until something acts up and they open a control panel. That could take years.

The moral of this story: Never spec a PLC that doesn't have an open programming interface and multiple platform support. Even better, available source and a license to use/port as needed should the vendor drop support and/or go out of business.

3
0

Canadian operator EasyDNS stands firm against London cops

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Hey, I've got an idea...

Already done. See /etc/hosts (or the Windows equivalent, if such a thing still exists).

1
1

Robot WildCat slips its leash and bounds around parking lot

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Joke

Doesn't look at all like a cat to me. Where's the look of disdain when you wake it from its nap and try to get it to move?

2
0

Atomic clocks come to your wrist

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

I find it strange ...

... that a Hawaiian watch maker would come out with such an accurate time piece.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3185/2563750315_d6d0851a0a.jpg

0
0

Ellison ditches own cloud keynote for billionaires' America's Cup boat race

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Coat

Its like ...

... attending a Gallagher act and not getting splattered by watermellon guts.

Mine's the one with the seeds stuck to it.

1
0

'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: Win on Appeal?

"Since polygraphs are not considered evidence in law, this chappy was tried and convicted for training someone to defeat a non-functional test."

Doesn't matter. Its interfering with law enforcement. It would be the same thing as pointing out to a potential john that the lady sitting across the bar was not a prostitute, but an undercover officer.

It doesn't matter that the lie detector is fake. Its a tool used to intimidate the suspect (or job applicant) and elicit truthful testimony. In the USA, police are allowed to lie or otherwise use trickery to obtain evidence or confessions. This is just one method of doing so.

1
1

Now we know why UK spooks simply shrugged at SSL encryption

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: The code-ring on the golf course

"Most intelligence data is time-critical."

Until the political opposition comes in to power. Then your history comes back to bite you in the [redacted].

1
0

Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Perhaps this is Ballmer's spanner in the works.

0
0

Air mattress blast blows German man across room

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: How do you become an expert in matress explosions?

I don't know. But the requisite continuing education sounds interesting.

I'm not napping, I'm studying.

1
0

BILLION DOLLAR BALLMER: Microsoft chief makes $1bn simply by quitting

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

"he's fairly easily convinced something is a good idea and once he's convinced something is a good idea he'll ram it down everyone's throats"

This means that the technical direction at Microsoft can be controlled by a few people working behind the scenes who have Steve's ear. Rather than leading a competent technical group to a consensus on what should be done, just grab him, point him in your preferred direction and he bulldozes over everyone else.

In my opinion, this isn't a good way to run a high tech company. When you hope to be out on the bleeding edge (where Microsoft isn't more often then not), you have to get the input of numerous field specialists. And these sorts of people are put off quite easily by the monkey boy, chair throwing antics. So the question is: Will the people behind the curtain, pulling Ballmer's chain allow a consensus builder into his position? Or will they pull for another version of him, just to protect their turf?

4
0

Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

There's a place for encryption

But this isn't it.

So Snowden scoops up some juicy NSA data and routes it to the Guardian. What is critical is to complete the communications unmolested. Not to keep the contents from the NSA/GCHQ. Its their data. They already know the contents.

For this purpose, the encryption need only be good enough to conceal the transmission until the deed is done. From that point on, its the NSA's choice. Want to know what was in the message? Pick up tomorrow's copy of the paper. Sure, we could have had the editors redact the sensitive bits to prevent some real damage. But if the spooks insist on us handing over the encryption keys, fine. We'll hand them over to the world.

The best way for Snowden to have handled this is to have posted his acquisitions on well mirrored web sites around the world, encrypted, but only slightly. Too late to stop and practically impossible to determine the intended recipient. Everyone grabs a copy and passes it on to several friends.

1
1

Mystery of Guardian mobos and graphics cards which 'held Snowden files'

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Re: Symbolism

How did that data get to the Guardian in the first place? So where's the trail of smashed e-mail servers and backups in data centers between Snowden and the UK?

2
0
Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

"countries asking if you plan to overthrow the government when you enter them."

No plans. I did so unintentionally.

4
0
Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Hmm

I don't see the remains of a USB flash drive. Or the cloud backup for that matter.

Note to self: Keep some defunct PC parts handy so when the security services come knocking, I can present them with suitable looking debris worked over with a hammer.

I have this old toaster sitting around ....

1
0

Google goes dark for 2 minutes, kills 40% of world's net traffic

Paul Hovnanian
Silver badge

Red pill/Blue pill

Someone took the red pill.

0
0

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018