* Posts by Norman Nescio

329 posts • joined 7 May 2008

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One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Obligatory Ayn Rand quotation

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”

Atlas Shrugged

Perhaps someone responsible for directing the production of text by the law drafting bits of the civil service has been reading too much Ayn Rand.

It's 2019, and a PNG file can pwn your Android smartphone or tablet: Patch me if you can

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: useful jailbreak?

So can we use this exploit ourselves to jailbreak otherwise nailed-shut devices? Like maybe to install a bootloader so you can install a current and supported version of LineageOS on it?

I would like that, as I have a 'landfill tablet', abandoned by its retailer, that I would like to bring up to date. It is currently running Android 5.1 (Lollipop) with Linux kernel version 3.10.62

Sadly, it is probably using all sorts of nasty binary firmware blobs in the hardware drivers, which will be incompatible with any reasonable update. One of the benefits of Project Treble Bettershark,Ars Technica is meant to be reducing such problems in future.

Yay, we got a B for maths. Literally, a bee: Little nosy nectar nerds smart enough to add, abstract numbers

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Geometry too

They also construct regular hexagons, apparently without a ruler and compasses.

Actually, its a bit more complicated than that:

"It is now accepted that bees build cylindrical cells that later transform into hexagonal prisms through a process that it is still debated."

(Nazzi, F. The hexagonal shape of the honeycomb cells depends on the construction behavior of bees. Sci. Rep. 6, 28341; doi: 10.1038/srep28341 (2016))

I suspect there are a lot of El Reg commentators who could write improved automata to simulate the hive cell-building process. The fun starts in trying to devise experiments to determine which, if any, of the programs the bees are following.

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'

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Arm wants to wrestle industry into a seat on the UK.gov's £70m hardware security train

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Formally Validated open hardware designs

There are a couple of simple things, and one more difficult thing that ARM could do for hardware and chip design:

1) Ensure that there is a physical jumper or DIP switch or other hardware equivalent that can inhibit or allow firmware writing.

2) Produce chipsets that can be operated with FLOSS firmware - that is, not requiring a 'binary blob', encrypted and/or cryptographically signed firmware from the manufacturer or other provider to operate.

3) More difficult: provide assurance that chip hardware offered to buyers has no back-doors, either in software, firmware, or hardware. This is a difficult problem that could easily suck up £70m.

The end result should be that end-users are able to obtain computing devices that they can be reasonably certain can be used to secure their data from unwanted exposure. The side effect is that it would probably make life more difficult both for people investigating crimes and for people maintaining national security.

'Numpty new boy' lets the boss take fall for mailbox obliteration

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

RE: Running Interference

Upvote from me. That was pretty much my approach too.

NN

(long rambling anecdote deleted)

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Minimum specs PCs for testing

Oh yes.

A long time ago, a large financial institution with 100s of offices in many countries decided it wanted to upgrade an in-house bit of software fundamental to customer service.

The architecture of the network was very centralised - a mahoosive pair of datacentres in one country with expensive frame-relay (I told you is was a long time ago) links, and even more expensive leased lines (yes, very long ago) to those benighted places that didn't have frame-relay yet.

The replacement application was coded up on PCs by the application developers, who were all housed in a multi-story office in the same city as the data-centres, with a testing server in the same building as the developers.

It had been decided that the first place to get the new application would be the country that was at the end of the longest, thinnest, most expensive leased lines as the frame-relay solution would be significantly cheaper. The application had passed all its functional tests, and a roll-out plan had been agreed. PCs had been loaded up with the new software, the notice had been given to the local telco to cancel the leased lines, the replacement frame-relay links had been ordered and installed. All systems go!

The complaints flooded in. The application was unusable. Customer queues were frighteningly long. Telco suppliers were hauled over the coals for providing connections that were manifestly not working properly.

Except.

The application so lovingly coded by the applications developers was written as a 'client-server' style application, with all the data held centrally. The application developers had been in the same building as the server - in fact, on the same (fast by then current standards) LAN. This meant that some fairly standard network efficient practices had not been followed - entire database tables were being transmitted from server to client. This worked well with the small tables on the test server on the some LAN, but not with production sized-tables being squirted across thin, long network connections.

It took 18 months to re-code the application.

Roll-out had to be halted, and the business reverted back to the old application. Upgrading the frame-relay links was a non-starter - even if the capacity could be obtained, it was far too expensive even for this financial institution, and it wouldn't solve the problem as the network latency also killed performance (a double whammy).

So not only should you test applications on minimum spec PCs, you should also test them on minimum spec networks (you can get nice 'networks in a box' with configurable latency, capacity and error rate*), so you know your spiffy new applications will work in the boondocks. It's also advisable to use a comparable volume of test data to the production application to expose unindexed (i.e. sequential) searches, and table joins across the network).

NN

*Oddly enough, the large financial institution bought several of these.

This must be some kind of mistake. IT managers axed, CEO and others' wallets lightened in patient hack aftermath

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: This is the Bizarro Universe

Like many interpretations of Biblical texts, there's more than one possible answer.

If you follow the link (Religeous Tolerance) you can find some physics-based joke answers.

'It's like they took a rug and covered it up': Flight booking web app used by scores of airlines still vuln to attack – claim

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: and our technical teams took immediate action

apart from the fact the air investigation is pointing squarely at the maintenance issues. The AOA autopilot on the MAX series is documented and a pilot course is available, airlines assume a new 737 is the same as thebold 737 and havent sent pilots on the course. Is this Boeings fault or the airline?

It's a little early to say in which direction the investigation is pointing. The Lion Air Cockpit Voice Recorder was only very recently recovered from 30 metres down, under 8 metres of mud and silt, and no analysis has been released yet. In the absence of the CVR it is only natural that the investigation would look at the things they do have access to - such a maintenance logs, aircrew training, and the contents of the recovered Flight Data Recorder. No mention has been made of any Quick Access Recorder - which is likely not to have not have survived as it is not designed to be 'crash survivable' or findable.

(PPRuNe thread - CVR recovery is post #2085)

Apparently well qualified commentators on the PPRuNe thread opine that Boeing have been less than forthright about MCAS. I am not qualified to have an opinion of any value, but I do know enough to listen to people with more expertise than me. While speculation is an interesting exercise, it is probably worth waiting for any forthcoming interim reports, and for the final report from the Indonesian National Transportation Agency (KNKT).

I share your interest in the outcome, and I hope for all our sakes that the correct conclusions are reached in the final report so that air transport safety can be improved. This isn't about blame, but about improving the system so that loss of lives due to similar failings can be avoided in future. In some ways, a blame culture is antithetical to a safety culture*. I would not be surprised to find that many involved parties will find improvements that can be made - people often talk about 'the holes in the Swiss cheese lining up', meaning that many small failings, often in different areas, can combine to result in an incident. No one of them can be identified as the root cause of the problem, but it is incumbent upon every identified party to improve.

NN

*Air transport safety has been improved by the adoption of a 'just culture' rather than blame culture. There is an introductory article with decent references on SKYbrary: Just Culture, and a similar article from the rail industry regarding a 'no-blame culture' here: Assetivity(Asset Management Consultants): The Importance of a No-Blame Culture for Safety and Reliability Improvement .

Brit comms regulator Ofcom: Disabled left behind by tech

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Accessibility for the visually disabled sucks

I am involved with a group of partially-sighted and blind people and have the following observations:

1) Almost all use iPhones as the built in screen reader and accessibility options that can be turned on are very very good. Not quite excellent, but part of the problem is poorly designed Apps - I'll come back to that. Several have iWatches too, and find them very useful.

2) Not quite so many use iPads - again, the built in accessibility is good. There is some Android use.

3) On windows PCs, the JAWS screen reader is pretty good, so long as it 'knows' about the application is is reading the screen for.

JAWS + Web browser is a variable quantity, depending highly on how the websites have been coded.

4) Websites - many websites are *TERRIBLE*. Often accessibility is not thought of, so you end up with unlabelled fields, or all having the same fieldname. No thought is given for navigation by screen-reader, so even if the fields and buttons are labelled, you have to laboriously move through the entire head-of-page and/or left-hand menu to get to the text that is different and/or useful on any particular page. Many sites have obviously never been tested for accessibility.

5) Apps on smartphones - some are good, some have the same failings as websites - it doesn't matter how good the built in accessibility functions are if the app doesn't expose itself to them.

There are screen magnifiers for the partially-sighted, and those unable to discern text on a screen can use screen readers, or braille displays (which are breathtakingly expensive, and often not supported). Most helping aids are designed around use of Microsoft Windows - in my unrepresentative sample, few used Macs, and none used Linux. It is possible to used Linux from a Braille display - the reasonably well-known Knoppix distribution takes care to support them (Knoppix ADRIANE) because the maintainer's wife is visually disabled - there are other distributions that aim to offer similar capabilities e.g. Talking Arch Linux. There is also emacspeak. My impression is that while there are some dedicated, enthusiastic, and technically accomplished visually-disabled users of Linux, it is not a mainstream choice.

I suspect most visually disabled people who have a job are forced into using Windows as that is what most businesses use. So even if an Apple Mac has better accessibility it may not have access to the applications used in a business. I know this to be a problem for many - and many business-oriented applications have very poor accessibility. Sometimes it is so bad, a visually disabled worker needs a secretary to operate necessary business applications, which is something very, very, few companies are willing or able to justify.

The problem is that if visually disabled people find it more and more difficult to access modern IT applications, websites and apps, they will become further marginalized and reliant on sighted helpers. While most people think it won't happen to them, age-related visual disability is a real problem - cataracts are usually operable, but age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma increase in likelihood as you age, so making sure that people with visual disabilities are not left behind by IT is really a form of insurance for yourself. Making the necessary adjustments and learning new ways of doing things often gets more difficult with age, so it is a good idea to make things as simple as possible - which is hard work.

IT really ought to be an enabler, but too often it is a barrier.

NN

Medical advice app Your.MD could have been tampered with by anyone, alleges ex-veep

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Re: Long before apps and cellphones there was the Merck Manual

+1 for the reference. Chapter One of Three Men in a Boat (to say Nothing of the Dog). by Jerome K. Jerome. Link is to Gutenberg.org.

That is still a book I can't read in public as I dissolve in tears of laughter.

No plain sailing for Anon hacktivist picked up by Disney cruise ship: 10 years in the cooler for hospital DDoS caper

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Re: Handwriting

You think that's *neat handwriting*? I thought it was pretty scrappy. I also thought that he wrote "vein attempt" until I saw that a was written much like an e every time. Also, it slopes backward. Do not trust people whose handwriting slopes backward, irrespective of neatness.

Just in case anybody takes you seriously, there is no good evidence that graphology is any better then wild guesses.

North Texas Skeptics factsheet on graphology

Note that Forensic analysis of handwriting* to show that two samples were likely written by the same person is different, and does have at least some basis in reality. For example, in the Hitler diaries hoax, the diaries were 'authenticated' in part by several different experts agreeing that the diaries were written by the same person that wrote papers previously authenticated as being written by Hitler. Unfortunately, subsequent forensic analysis of the ink and paper the Hitler diaries were written with showed that they could not have been written by Hitler (the paper contained chemicals first used in paper manufacturing after Hitler's death, and the ink was shown to have been applied to the papers within the previous 12 months), and it turned out that the forger of the Hitler diaries had previously forged the documents used to authenticate the diaries -so the writing matched (HowStuffWorks:Hitler Diaries, HuffPo:More details, ABC:Hitler Diary paper and ink).

NN

*the link is an interesting article, worth a read.

CES flicks the off switch on massager award… and causes a buzz

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Re: Sales site categorization

What would actually be useful is full text search, with booleans, of a free text field describing the object. Categories are nearly always 'fuzzy' and subject to ambiguity and misuse. You could always add category fields if you thought they might be useful, but as an addition to, not a replacement for free text search. Of course, that might founder on people's ability to write cogent, correct, brief descriptions of items. Many good ideas, on meeting the public, retire to plant cabbages in their gardens.

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Heartwarming?

Frankly, I'd expect a cataract of similar stories, given the technical nous of the commentators here.

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Ctrl & Fn keys

On most (if not all) recent Lenovo Thinkpads, it is possible to swap logical layout of the Ctrl and Fn keys in BIOS.

Enter the BIOS setup, then

config -> keyboard/mouse -> Fn and Ctrl Key swap

save and exit.

For really old farts like me this still does not put the Ctrl key in the right place. The correct place is, of course*, immediately to the left of the 'A' key, which is normally the Caps Lock key these days. Quite why such a little used function gets so much keyboard real-estate is a mystery to me - and for anyone used to navigating software with control-codes.

NN

*The correct place is generally wherever you first learned it. People get quite impassioned over this, but I don't want to get into a holy war over it. What would be nice is if hardware/firmware suppliers gave people the option of easily choosing their preferred layout, as Lenovo do in their Thinkpad range, but extended it into allowing easy remapping** so that I could choose to remap Caps Lock to Ctrl, with the bottom left key then being Fn, and the key immediately to the right of the bottom left key being Caps Lock. For those who want the Caps Lock on the same keyboard row as A, the DEC keyboards like the VT100 keyboard, the LK201 and the LK401 were nice: the Caps Lock key was placed between the Ctrl key and the A key.

**I am aware this can often, but not always, be done in the O/S software or with other tweaks.

Amazon exec tells UK peers: No, we don't want to be dominant. Also, we don't fancy being taxed on revenues

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Tax allowance for costs is a grace

Justifying transfer pricing as 'reasonable' is something that large multinational companies can afford to pay extremely capable accountants to do. Blatant exploitation is made difficult by HMRC, but minimizing your tax bill is not illegal, and large companies can afford the best advice.

Other ways of navigating just the right side of the fuzzy boundary between tax avoidance and tax evasion include licensing of intellectual property and franchising. The intellectual property is owned by a subsidiary in a low-tax country, and companies elsewhere are required to buy licences e.g. to use the logos and marketing materials, which conveniently generates a revenue stream in a low-tax environment and costs in a higher-tax environments. This method is used by software companies that licence software too.

None of this is illegal, but large multinational companies have access to resources (like tax planning departments, and tax consultancies) that private individuals either cannot afford, or cannot make use of. Working people see that as their salary increases, above a certain level the tax take also increases (e.g. from basic rate to higher-rate income tax), yet it appears that large companies are able to reduce the percentage they pay in tax by making use of 'constructive' methods that are not available to others. This is perceived as unfair.

Large companies by-and-large play by the rulebook. But when the rulebook is many hundreds of pages thick and requires interpretation by experts, the average man in the street is at a significant disadvantage, as in fact are many small company owners. If I could pay the same percentage of my income to accountants and tax-planners as large companies do, and get the same percentage of legal avoidance of taxation as large companies do, I would do so in a heartbeat. The trouble is, you don't get much advice for tuppence-ha'penny. In addition, there are many schemes I cannot take advantage of. So the old truism applies: it is the poorest that pay the highest prices cf. pTerry: Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

rEFInd

You might find that using 'rEFInd' will allow you to boot your wife's Acer laptop without a tiny USB stick.

Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REFInd

Actual website: https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/

It is not a simple proposition*, but as a reader and commentator on 'El Reg', you probably have the smarts to deal with it.

I have an Acer laptop where the UEFI is set up to expect only the Windows EFI module. If you replace that module with the rEFInd module, you can then subsequently choose to boot any available Operating System from a convenient menu. The Acer UEFI is not standards compliant as it should correctly boot with a module placed in the fallback default location if there is not one in the (Windows) standard location, but it doesn't. I also have to disable Secure Boot via a non-intuitive process.

*It involves mucking about with the contents of the EFI System Partition, and modifying NVRAM UEFI boot variables. If you get it wrong, it might brick the system unrecoverably. In principle, you can use GRUB2 as a boot manager also, but I've not got a large enough collection of round tuits to have a go at doing that yet.

You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

PST files on a network? - NOTWORK

Um, I hate to say this, but even Microsoft have made it clear that accessing PST files within Outlook across a network is an unsupported configuration.

Microsoft Technet Blogs:Network Stored PST files … don’t do it!

and

Microsoft Knowledge Base: KB 297019: Limits to using personal folders (.pst) files over LAN and WAN links

You don't explicitly say that is what you were doing, but your posting is a bit suggestive:

Outlook .pst files shall be thy instrument of archiving.

...

Claims the network share upon which the .pst files reside are backed up proved to as hollow as the archive files generated from them.

Of course, if you copied the mail to an Archive PST locally, then shut down Outlook, then copied the closed PST file to the network share, and did not try to access it using Outlook across the network, it would probably (this is Microsoft, after all) be OK. I used to do precisely that, until Corporate IT decided our network share data was getting too big*, and it became allowable to store PSTs locally on IT-issued USB connected encrypted portable disk drives.

*We were allowed only a couple of hundred megabytes of Outlook mailbox each. There was also an email retention policy enforced that acted automatically on mailboxes deleting emails older than a certain age. I successfully pointed out that I needed certain of my emails to be retained for at least the length of customer contracts (which could be multi-year), ending up needing to juggle multiple USB disks (for backup) containing some** contractually useful emails.

**Read 'a lot of'.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Users do what works for them

In the absence of clear rules regarding the use of files with a .TMP extension, or placed in a TMP directory (or tmp folder*), I wouldn't be too quick to blame the user.

That said, I have experienced pathological user behaviour using Microsoft Outlook, where one user used the 'Deleted Items' Folder as their archive. Their client was set up to NOT empty the 'Deleted Items' folder on program exit, and the folder held several years of previous emails that they wanted to keep. The users workflow was sensible from their point of view: they read an incoming email, did whatever necessary and 'deleted' the email, recovering it from the 'Deleted items' folder if it was needed to be referenced again at a later date. I had been called in because the version of Outlook being used had a size limit on the mailbox storage file, and was having problems.

Some user education followed.

NN

*If you look at the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, the behaviour of a tmp directory varies according to where in the hierarchy it is found.

3.17. /tmp : Temporary files

3.17.1. Purpose

The /tmp directory must be made available for programs that require temporary files.

Programs must not assume that any files or directories in /tmp are preserved between invocations of the program.

Rationale

IEEE standard P1003.2 (POSIX, part 2) makes requirements that are similar to the above section.

Although data stored in /tmp may be deleted in a site-specific manner, it is recommended that files and directories located in /tmp be deleted whenever the system is booted.

FHS added this recommendation on the basis of historical precedent and common practice, but did not make it a requirement because system administration is not within the scope of this standard.

...

5.2. Requirements

...

The following directories, or symbolic links to directories, are required in /var.

Directory Description

[/var/]tmp Temporary files preserved between system reboots

Of course, while the standard quoted is relatively sensible, someone doing a 'man hier' can get different answers:

/tmp This directory contains temporary files which may be deleted with no notice, such as by a regular job or at system boot up.

/var/tmp Like /tmp, this directory holds temporary files stored for an unspecified duration.

Although the man pages do link to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, it would have to be a particularly dedicated user that chased down the exact rules, and even then, assuming developers have been just as dedicated, and implemented things correctly, can be dangerous.

New side-channel leak: Boffins bash operating system page caches until they spill secrets

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Openwrt?

1) Not all the devices tested have an OpenWRT firmware available for them

2) My non-expert perusal of the OpenWRT developers' mailing list leads me to believe that OpenWRT firmware images for some cpu types have the vulnerability mentioned due to a bug in the package build system. This, no doubt, will be addressed.

3) OpenWRT, while very good in its role of enabling use of SOHO routers, usually based on SOC designs, is not a general-purpose router image for use in 'high end' devices. I am a fan of OpenWRT, but I'm also aware of its limitations. It is not a globally perfect solution for Linux-based routing. As ever, I am very grateful for the time and trouble put in by the volunteers in the OpenWRT project.

4) I suspect that testing the firmware supplied by the device maker covers the majority of use-cases. Very few people who buy the tested routers are motivated to replace manufacturer's firmware with OpenWRT.

More nodding dogs green-light terrible UK.gov pr0n age verification plans

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Just like buying a magazine.

Cough. Having the son of an independent* newsagent in the same class was a very educative experience.

*Not W.H. Smith or Menzies, just a typical corner shop newsagent that also happened to cater to people with unusual/specialised tastes.

Apple blew my mind – literally, says woman: MagSafe plug sparked face-torching blaze, lawsuit claims

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Her Lawyer quite obviously studied chemistry in the US education system

Well, it depends on your definitions of 'ignite' and 'burn'.

If 'ignite' means 'initiate a reaction between', then starting a reaction between an oxidising agent and a reducing agent where the reducing agent is in excess (oxygen gas in a reducing atmosphere) would definitely count as 'ignite'.

As for 'burn', most people would make it a synonym of 'rapid oxidation' (slow oxidation being known as 'rusting'), and oxidation is defined at one level as loss of electrons (mnemonic being OIL RIG - Oxidation is Loss, Reduction is Gain (of electrons). You can make dioxygen difluoride (aka FOOF) where the oxygen has the unusual (for it) oxidation state of +1 by direct reaction at 700 °C and slightly elevated pressure (read the link for more details. It is instructive), so you might, if you squint a bit, say that the oxygen is thereby 'burnt' in the fluorine*, but generally it is other things that burn (lose electrons) in oxygen.

*A bit more technically, burning is a form of combustion. In combustion, if the speed at which the reaction is moving through the reaction mixture is subsonic, you have what is called a 'deflagration', whereas if the reaction moves through the mixture faster than the local speed of sound you have what is called 'an explosion' or detonation. Visible flames dancing around generally correspond to a low speed of the flame front compared to the speed of sound. Whether a mixture of fluorine and oxygen deflagrates or detonates at 700 °C is not something I know, and if you intend to find out by experiment, let me know so I can be several miles away at the time.

Detailed: How Russian government's Fancy Bear UEFI rootkit sneaks onto Windows PCs

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Physical write-enable switches

"Have a physical switch or jumper like they used to do in the 'good ol' days', have a backup automatically made at the time of flash, etc."

Remember, these machines can be buried or remote, meaning physical switches are not an option since that will mean expensive physical trips.

Of course they are an option. You simply set the 'write-protect switch' on remote machines to 'write-enable' and leave it there, leaving you in exactly the situation you are now. Having a manual switch does not prevent you from implementing additional software-based methods to inhibit firmware writing.

What is less than clever is not having the option of using a physical write-enable switch, which would be a major security gain. One could almost think there is a government-inspired reason why physical write-enable switches are not available, but that gets into tinfoil hat territory.

Crystal ball gazers declare that Windows 10 has finally overtaken Windows 7

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: But will Windows ever get to 11?

Chuck some money in the direction of ReactOS and/or WINE.

ReactOS is most definitely not there yet, but the intent is pretty much to provide the ability to run Windows executables without a Microsoft Operating System: "The main goal of the ReactOS project is to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows"

WINE aims to "allow computer programs (application software and computer games) developed for Microsoft Windows to run on Unix-like operating systems". WINE also is by no means perfect.

Both of the above appear to be compatible with your wishes, and throwing some money their way might help your wishes come true.

What happens when a Royal Navy warship sees a NATO task force headed straight for it? A crash course in Morse

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: After you. No, after you!

COLREGS are very clear about who should stand on and who should give way. Altering course when you shouldn't is one cause of unintended collisions. Unfortunately, naval vessels don't always follow COLREGS, as they wish to preserve their freedom of action, but unless you are deliberately following the practices of trireme warfare, even naval vessels tend not to actively intend to ram another vessel (unless you are an Icelandic built-like-a-brick-shithouse-boat intercepting British frigates send to try and protect the right of British fisherfolk to fish in contested waters).

Meeting US Navy ships head on would be rather worrying, given the standards of seamanship exhibited by the US 7th Fleet : USS Fitzgerald and MV ACX Crystal collision & USS John S. McCain and Alnic MC collision.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Endurance

I've not followed this closely from the start, so this might not be relevant. Even relatively short flying duration drones could cause problems if they are flying for a short period, then landing, waiting a while then taking off again. So you don't need unbelievably high capacity batteries to deliver long duration disruption. Popping up for a few minutes at approximately hourly intervals with apparently random variations would do it. Obviously, if you can track the drone, you can disable it while it is landed in one of its quiescent periods, so long as the landing point is relatively easily accessible. If the drone uses a series of landing points planned in advance*, it could be difficult to catch up with. With sufficiently good planning, it would never return to a previously used landing point before the batteries run out of juice.

Drones whose single task is to follow another drone and say where it is could be a likely development.

*e.g. the flat roofs of buildings in industrial parks. Bonus points if crawlboards are needed for human access; flat roofs of domestic house extensions; and I'm sure readers can think of other places.

Scumbag hackers lift $1m from children's charity

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Really.

No, you got that wrong @robinson: he was paid $299,136 - he probably earned about half that. This is a common misconception.

Just to correct a misconception here: Helle Thorning-Schmidt is a female ex-Prime Minister of Denmark, married to Stephen Kinnock (Neil Kinnock's son). Stephen Kinnock is currently MP for Aberavon.

Whether USD 299,136 is a reasonable amount for a year's salary for her is not something I am competent to comment on. Presumably her paymasters think she is worth it.

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Value added installer

@trevorde

So it was you that wrote the Microsoft Windows file copy progress bar*.

*and the Outlook 'copy mailbox to local pst for backup' progress bar, which defies reason.

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: The best bacon

In my view, jowls don't count as bacon either, but I seem to have been outvoted on that.

Pigs jowls might also be known as Bath Chaps, a speciality my father much enjoyed.

What counts as 'bacon' may well be country/culture specific, so I wouldn't say you are wrong, but in my culture bacon made from pigs jowls doesn't exist, but as anything made from a pig is usually tasty, I'd be willing to give it a try.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

The best bacon

Is more than 1/8" thick, rind on, has adequate fat, not injected with water and/or polyphosphates, and grilled*. My preference is for unsmoked, but others prefer smoked, which is fine.

Bacon that is so thin that it is translucent, pumped full of polyphosphates and water so it dies by drowning in a frying pan is not bacon, but a transparent grab at profits by the manufacturers.

*If frying, I'll agree with a previous poster that the frying pan should not be too hot. You want sufficient fat to render out before the bacon carbonises, then fry the eggs and bread in the rendered fat. A lot of really good bacon won't give enough fat, so you need to add lard.

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: TUBE

I remember the tricks of getting PCs to ork with dodgy peripherals.

I guess you got used to composing documents sans the use of the letter in the English alphabet that precedes 'x'.

Ernest Vincent Wright could have been a member of staff.

That and the use of Alt+<number entered by the numeric keypad>. I suspect you used Alt+0119 and Alt+0087 a lot. That and the Character Map utility.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Misdirection

While everyone is arguing over encryption backdoors, the Signals Intelligence Agencies are successfully misdirecting people, as you would expect.

Snowden made it quite clear in the Q&A session hosted by The Guardian in 2013 that:

Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on. Unfortunately, endpoint security is so terrifically weak that NSA can frequently find ways around it.

My emphasis on 'properly implemented'. While the algorithms used by various applications may well be theoretically secure, many implementations are flawed. Good luck in finding a cpu that doesn't have a built in back door ( Intel ME, AMD Secure Technology, VIA C3 "God Mode", ARM TrustZone*) , and, if on a mobile phone, doesn't have a baseband modem with proprietary 'binary blob' firmware which can be updated over the air by service providers that also has access to main memory (and therefore decryption keys). In addition, there are poor random number implementations, and overly bloated libraries with an indefinite number of flaws (OpenSSL) that have multifarious leaky side-channels. It is very strongly suspected the SigInt agencies actively try and influence standards setting committees to subvert and/or make implementations complex and prone to bugs so that groups like the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) have a range of implementation flaws to work with (See also BULLRUN. Easily obtainable secure end-points for communications do not exist. While everybody argues about the security of data in transit, little attention is paid to the security of end-points, which is a situation I expect the SigInt agencies are very happy with.

It should not be necessary for me to point out I am against terrorism and/or child abuse. That said, as a society we appear to have a hard choice to make: gain the ability for select groups of people in authority to intercept communications between terrorist and/or child abuse conspirators (that ability also subject to abuse and subversion) ; or retain the ability for innocent people to have private conversations. It appears we cannot have both. I suspect that in the long run we will lose privacy. If you look at the use of social media, the cultural norms around privacy have changed hugely in a short period of time, and I would not be surprised for people in the future to make the explicit choice of living in a panopticon, partly justified on the basis of security and for the sake of the children, but mainly simply because it becomes normal to do so, and anyone desiring privacy would be regarded as a misfit.

*Note that a lot of this technology is justified by its use in DRM for media use. Secure channels for playing digital media, etc; and also its use in easing management of large organisations' IT estate. Trusted Computing is about third parties being able to place what they regard as their content on 'your' computer and control it such that you can't do with it what you like - that is they trust 'your' computer to do what they want. Great for Hollywoood and corporate IT departments; and coincidentally great for SigInt agencies.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Trying reasonableness?

I can't remember the name of it off hand but there's another internet law about satire being mistaken for a serious position. Need something like the joke icon to prevent the misunderstanding.

That'd be Poe's law:

...without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied views.

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Rudder, Elevator, Stabilizer, Ailerons, Flaps, Spoilers. That's it. Six things to know about.

I'm so glad we have such experts as you here to advise us.

And there was I thinking that LANDING GEAR might, in some way, be important to the successful conclusion of a flight.

"Any landing you can walk away from is a good one!"

— Gerald R. Massie, U.S. Army Air Forces photographer. Written in 1944 after the crash-landing of his B-17.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Really?

"This is a computer system designed to prevent the nose of the Boeing 737-Max from pulling too far up and putting the plane into a stall when under manual control. It has nothing to do with the airplane's autopilot."

Nope nope nope nope nope

When machinery is under manual control, it should be under manual control. There is absolutely no reason at all for this system to automatically control the aircraft. For decades aircraft have had the capability to alert the pilot audibly and visually and to even announce recommended action to a potential stall condition as well as a plethora of other potential pilot errors. That's where it should end. The pilot should always then get to decide whether to follow that advice or not.

How the hell did people sit in a room and decide that it was fine to let the computer have the final say?

I can handle the risk of a pilot making a mistake, I know that other than in the rarest of cases they will tey very hard to correct that error to save their own skin.

MCAS is Boeing's solution to the problem of getting the 737 MAX certified as airworthy by the FAA (14 CFR Part 25 - AIRWORTHINESS STANDARDS: TRANSPORT CATEGORY AIRPLANES). The 737 MAX replaced the engines with heavier, differently shaped, more powerful versions that needed to be placed further forward on the airframe. This increased the moment arm of the engine's thrust, which exacerbated the pitch-up when thrust was increased. This meant that at high angles of attack, increasing the thrust could stall the aircraft*. In order to pass the FAA's longitudinal stability requirement, Boeing came up with MCAS, which moves the stabiliser to provide nose-down pitch at high angles of attack to prevent stalling. Without MCAS, the 737 MAX would not have been certified to fly.

More information here: The Air Current: What is the Boeing 737 MAX Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)?

And here: Leeham News: Boeing’s automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots

It operates when the aircraft is being flown 'manually' (i.e. not by the Auto Pilot) with flaps up, because without it, the aircraft would not be certified as airworthy. It is there to prevent unwanted handling characteristics becoming a problem, but that works only when MCAS is receiving good data. You can fly a Boeing 737 with electrically assisted trim turned off, as there are manual trim wheels connected via cables to the stabiliser trim mechanism. They move when the electrical trim operates. Manual operation requires 50 turns per unit of trim (250 turns from full up to full down), and if the stabiliser is experiencing significant aerodynamic loads, can require some effort to move.

So, if you are flying with flaps up (i.e. not configured for landing), without autopilot, MCAS is in operation. If the MCAS system is incorrectly told there is a high Angle-of-Attack, it will automatically command Nose Down trim until the AoA falls to a level that the MCAS system programming is set up to regard as not needing the correction assistance. If the AoA doesn't change by enough, it will continue to command Nose Down pitch. It the pilot uses the toggle switch on the yoke to manually control the electrically assisted stabiliser movement, MCAS backs off for a few seconds, but will resume after a short period. If you switch to autopilot, MCAS is disabled, and if you extend flaps it is disabled. However, if there is an airspeed mismatch between the pilot's and co-pilot's instruments, autopilots generally disengage. As the airspeed is calculated from a combination of data from the pitot system and the AoA sensors, if AoA is wrong, airspeed will be wrong.

If you are at the point where the stabiliser's nose down trim setting exceeds the elevator's authority to bring the aircraft's nose up, you have a problem (at this point, it will probably require both the pilot and co-pilot pulling as hard as they can on their respective control-yokes simultaneously). Disabling all electrically assisted trim at that point may put you in an unrecoverable situation, as you may might be unable to manually alter the stabiliser pitch setting fast enough to get out of the dive. If you are using all your strength to pull on the yoke, you don't have any hands free to rotate the trim wheels.

If the incorrect operation of MCAS is recognised at an early stage, it is easy to recover. If you leave it too long, it might not be possible to recover.

I am not an expert, so I may have got things wrong. Corrections are welcomed.

NN

*This is simplifying things a bit. The shape of the engine nacelle also provides additional lift at high angles of attack compared to the previous engine, so even without extra thrust, pitching up can be less benign than you expect. MCAS is there to ensure the combination of the airframe and handling systems meet the handling rules - it is meant to provide predictability.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

PPRuNe threads

The relevant Professional Pilots Rumour Network Threads are below.

Note that it you are not a professional pilot, it is really not a good idea to post there, and especially not with 'newbie' questions and theories that are not backed by experience in the aviation industry. However, the forum publishers are nice enough to let other people read the forums, which can be an invaluable source of information.

Note also it is a Rumour Network - don't assume everything posted is correct. But there is a good signal to noise ratio.

PPRuNe Rumours and News thread: Indonesian aircraft missing off Jakarta

PPRuNe Tech Log Thread: B-737 Speed Trim System

PPRuNe Tech Log Thread: 737MAX Stab Trim architecture

Sacked NCC Group grad trainee emailed 300 coworkers about Kali Linux VM 'playing up'

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Replacement laptop

NCC sounds large enough for them to have the strategy/policy of suspected hardware problems being dealt with by issuing a replacement laptop from the pool of spare laptops held by IT with a fresh new image on its hard drive / SSD. If the problem is resolved, it was hardware. If the problem continues, you have eliminated the hardware (unless, of course it is a common cpu / other hardware bug that only this user's workload triggers).

In my case, when in the past I was subject to the rigours of IT support, if this ever happened, it would be a real pain, as I had opted out of IT support (which was possible with manager's approval) - so *any* problem reported to IT would result in an offer of a re-imaged laptop or nothing. It meant I could set up my own machine as I saw fit (within limits), but had to support myself, and I was as good at searching on the Internet as IT were for whatever Microsoft patch or registry setting or arcane software configuration needed to be set . In fact, I had a considerably greater incentive to find the fix to avoid a hardware swap-out and a re-imaged system.

It meant I put my own DRAM into 'my' laptop, considerably improving performance, and replaced the fan (which required complete disassembly of the machine) when the original gave up the ghost. Thankfully, the BIOS wasn't locked, so I could boot off a USB stick and run up Linux (this was before the ubiquity of workable VMs), and PortableApps were a godsend* - I could debork, using OpenOffice (the LibreOffice fork hadn't happened then), the vast Word documents generated by my colleagues which would corrupt themselves shortly before the deadline of issuing an RFP response.

It's sad that it is not easy to get quickly to the root cause of many problems associated with Microsoft software, but I can well understand that it is not worth an IT department's time to do a full forensic diagnosis for each and every odd user experience. It is far, far easier to offer a drive re-image, or a PC swapout, and usually faster than a fault-finding session if you have a pile of spare PCs ready to go. You can then spend the time on the users that come back with the same problem after a hardware and software swap-out, or servers, where a drive re-image is more complicated due to needing to re-set-up complex application software.

*I have no connection other than being a satisfied user. YMMV. Use of such things might be forbidden by your IT / Data Security policy.

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Spoilers in Tech Docs!

You ring the doorbell. You click the mouse. You boil the kettle.

Oh, didn't you realize "boil" is onomatopoeic? Ah well. Carry on pretending to be an authority on English.

<pedant>I generally boil the water in the kettle, not wanting high temperature metal and/or plastic vapour floating around the kitchen.

I wouldn't say the word boil is onomatopœic - for me at least, boiling water doesn't sound like boil...boil...boil. You might argue that 'kettle' is a meronym for the combination of the utensil used to boil the water and the water itself (and also a synecdoche). </pedant>

For me, the vast majority of mice I have used emit a click sound when one of the mouse buttons is depressed, so it is entirely reasonable to use that as a description of the action needed to activate an on-screen button; just as when using a touch sensitive screen, the action people use to activate on-screen buttons is to tap the screen. I find silent mice take some getting used to, as I am accustomed to getting the auditory feedback. One of the problems I have with 'flat' interfaces is the lack of feedback when you try and activate sensitive areas. If you are not sure if your tap has been registered, you can tap several times to try and get a response, which can be less than useful if your taps are buffered and applied later.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Spoilers in Tech Docs!

do you click the doorbell or do you press it?

At one of my friends' dwellings, I pull the porcelain handle hanging down from the porch. The handle is attached to a wire cable in a conduit, and somewhere in the depths of the house a physical bell on a spiral spring jangles. Another friend has beside the entrance door a sprung knob which you pull and release to set a bell ringing. That confuses a lot of people, even though the brass around the knob is engraved "Pull to ring".

I remember visiting someone in a flat somewhere on the continent, and the doorbell was a rotary device - you rotated it, and a bell on the other side of the door, much like an old-style bicycle bell, trilled away. A similar device I have seen is a clockwork doorbell, which has a conventional button to push, but which is wound up by turning the bell on the inside of the door. If you forget to do this periodically, it falls silent.

I have yet to see a doorbell operated by a lever, but I expect it is possible. Or even a pneumatic plunger to operate a whistle.

From directory traversal to direct travesty: Crash, hijack, siphon off this TP-Link VPN box via classic exploitable bugs

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Laconic if...

I was tempted to answer simply:

If...

But thought it might be a little less cryptic, and little more helpful, if I expanded for clarification.

I have upvoted you for being correct.

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: TP-Link

Well, if you're so inclined you could look up the list of cheap routers supported by openWRT, and set up your own security rules. Sensible guidelines are available...

I'll reply, with a Laconic "If...". You were right to write "If...", as most people not seriously interested in networking are not so inclined, and the botnet herders rely on the stupid, the ignorant, the lazy, and the arrogant people who don't want to spend the time and trouble to learn how to do things well, or pay someone to do it well for them.

And while I am a great fan of OpenWrt, it is not a universal panacea. While it is very good, the kernel has got so big now, the volunteers who produce and support it have trouble in keeping the firmware image small enough to fit into the lowest capability platforms currently supported. The next image is likely to drop support for a lot of the older and/or smaller devices, and there is discussion and special pleading on the developers mailing list regarding this issue.

I can see legislation and regulatory bodies to enforce the legislation being set up in the future to enforce information security - this may not be the boon FLOSS enthusiasts expect, as it could turn out that only the largest companies will be able to afford to have software certified to meet any regulations. I expect some serious lobbying will be needed to get carve-outs for FLOSS enthusiasts' use of software. I would not be surprised to see a situation like Part 'P' for domestic electrical work, where security is not materially improved, but 'competent companies' get a licence to print money. I'll answer to being called cynical.

Germany pushes router security rules, OpenWRT and CCC push back

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: The updates section is not very good

1. Mandates firmware updates from WAN, so flash will need to be double size to hold old image and new image

Operationally, having ample flash is by no means a bad idea, even when you are connected locally by a LAN. It can be a godsend to be able to roll back to a known good firmware, without having to get into arcane recovery techniques, up to and including needing to solder JTAG connectors.

Of course, if you are in the arena of extremely low-cost embedded devices, where the cost saving of not including the extra flash is material, then limiting the amount of flash may well be the 'right' decision.

If you are expecting the device to have a long usable lifetime, where multiple firmware updates are expected, then I suspect the probability of an update going wrong increases, and the cost-benefit of having enough flash to hold two images looks better and better.

So, while I can see that there are cost-based arguments against having the extra flash*, my gut feeling that it's better to have than not, as it allows rescue from what would otherwise be situations that would be difficult to recover from.

*There are complexity arguments too. Having two flash images implies you have some mechanism to choose between them, which is an added complication which can go wrong. Murphy is patient.

Word boffins back Rimini Street in Oracle row: 'Full' in 'full costs' is a 'delexicalised adjective'

Norman Nescio Bronze badge
Pint

'Full' glass of beer

It'll come down to the definition of 'costs' taken in context.

If, by the definition of costs, they mean 'taxable costs', that's clear and reasonably closed (although see the discussion on beer below). If they mean any and all 'costs', both taxable and non-taxable that can remotely be associated with the case, that's open-ended and subject to much argument.

A cynic would say that lawyers will naturally argue for that latter, as that gives them more business.

A similar discussion over the meaning of full continues in the UK to determine what a full pint of beer constitutes. It turns out that a 'full' pint is legally allowed to be 95% liquid, with the rest being the head.

The linked article is from 2008, and this one Metro:Here’s how you know if you’re not getting a full pint is from earlier this year.

If I could get away with paying my bills in 'full' while keeping 5% back myself, I would. And spend it on beer.

Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Why not just...

I think a lot of politicians maintain an intentional ignorance of the topics upon which they opine, on the basis that they cannot be accused of lying if what they say is either (a) not known by them to be untrue* or (b) not believed by them to be untrue. Credible bullshitting relies on you not knowing what you are talking about, because psychologically, you are not working against the feeling that you know what you are saying to be an untruth. Others achieve the same effect by simply not caring if they are lying - such individuals are can be dangerous.

This also goes some way to explain why many** senior managers are uninterested in the details. Ignorance can be very powerful.

*The partially successful Amber Rudd defence.

**Not all. I have been privileged to met some of the few exceptions.

Abu Dhabi drops sack of cash into UK broadband challenger Hyperoptic

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

IPv6

<optimist>Maybe, just maybe, they might find a few coppers to implement IPv6. Its been pending 'for a while' now.</optimist>

<pessimist><cynic>Then again, charging for static IPv4 addresses is probably a nice money spinner for them, especially when CG-NAT stops dynamic DNS from working.</cynic></pessimist>

Civil rights group says Oracles, Tapads and Experians get let off for wanton info-sucking

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Oath

I think Oath are open to a GDPR investigation as well. Demurring from data collection must be as easy as consenting, and if you have seen the number of extra pages, check boxes, and voluminous text you have to read through, rather then clicking on the 'I agree' button, I suspect they could fairly easily be shown not to be in compliance.

The relevant test is Article 7 of the GDPR

Art. 7 GDPR - Conditions for consent

[Para 3, sentence 4]It shall be as easy to withdraw as to give consent.

Frankly, if the default were no collection and processing, with the end user having to read though voluminous text and check a number of tick boxes in order to consent, it would be more in tune with the spirit of the GDPR, which is generally a default of no permission to collect or process personal information.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

Because he invented the scientific method.

Hmm, there are many inventors of the scientific method. There are a couple of other Englishmen who could be argued to be instrumental in that endeavour, apart from Francis Bacon (Elizabethan statesman).

You could choose Roger Bacon

Or even, Roger Bacon's earlier contemporary, Robert Grosseteste who would also be an interesting candidate, but probably infeasible.

Mac users burned after Nuance drops Dragon speech to text software

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Hc Sunt Dracones (AND Windows)

Shadow Systems wrote:

Win10 is *NOT* for anyone that can't either repair their systems themselves or pay constantly to have someone fix it. The constant updates *will* break something that is mission critical for you & if you can't do the hurdle jumping to fix the MS fuster cluck, then you'll have to pay someone else to get you a working system once more. That will eventually leave you bankrupt so best not to even start down that slippery slope to hell.

stuartnz replied:

I've had Win10 installed for more than 2 years now and have not ONCE needed "to repair their systems themselves or pay constantly to have someone fix it. The constant updates *will* break something that is mission critical for you" Not for me it hasn't, And my PC is "mission critical" because I work from home and would be stuck without a working PC.

...solidly based on actual real world experience and deep familiarity with the very software being discussed."

This is what you get when trading anecdotes to make IT decisions. Both people are correct according to their own, but very different experiences. Windows 10 certainly seems to polarise opinions, and I don't know if that is because Windows 10 is flaky on some hardware and not others, or there is some other determinant. However, it really needs some kind of independent reliable view, and I really don't know where that might be found. I'm not looking forward to helping some people with almost zero IT-skills make the transition from Windows 7 to 10 because I have no idea what the experience will turn out like for them, and by extension, me. I use GNU/Linux, and it works for me, but I don't prescribe it as an IT-panacea for all.

I hope that those that need a good dictation solution find one that is workable for them. IT is meant to be able to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities, and all too often I see solutions offered that are expensive, difficult to maintain at any reasonable cost, and definitely not future-proof. Most people experience diminished abilities with age, and while accessibility seems irrelevant when you are young, it can become increasingly relevant, sooner than you might expect if you are providing in-family support for elderly relatives.

Good FLOSS solutions for accessibility lag behind commercial offerings by quite a bit, which is a shame. I hope that changes in future.

NN

Techie was bigged up by boss… only to cause mass Microsoft Exchange outage

Norman Nescio Bronze badge
Pint

Re: RE: gentoo

>> "Linux is like a sleek F1 car, each part is self-contained and held together with screws. "

>> Nowadays, that's unfortunately less true than ever. To illustrate this, I suggest you try the Gentoo installation process. When you start with a stage 3 tarball and use OpenRC rather than systemd, the number of dependencies required to get a *lightweight* functioning desktop with a suite of useful applications which use your hardware properly is scary.

> what are you on about?

> xorg-server mate slim firefox thunderbird conky dconf-editor libreoffice galculator corefonts dejavu roboto vlc audacity spotify ghex gimp conky

> there. you have a gentoo desktop.

Um. You put conky in twice. I know it's good, but it is not that good. Good effort, though, so please accept the virtual pint --->

And for most normals, that would be part of a truly scary command line, which would be accompanied by pity when you proudly point out you composed it from memory.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

Norman Nescio Bronze badge

Re: Racist?

Perhaps replace China with La La Land?

Being an old white bloke, I have ingrained attitudes that went out with the Ark. As a result, I have to be careful when dealing with people who are not the same sex as me, and people who don't have the same country of origin or ethnicity as me. Things have moved on from my youth, which is mostly good for people who are not white blokes, but it sometimes makes things (quite rightly) uncomfortable for me. Social attitudes have moved on. A lot.

NN

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