* Posts by John Robson

2166 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Brexit text-it wrecks it: Vote Leave fined £40k for spamming 200k msgs ahead of EU referendum

John Robson Silver badge

Re: What I don't understand

It’s not the standard for ‘anything’ or even for ‘changing the status quo’

It’s a relatively arbitrary (but common) line for ‘irreversible action’

We can create and remove a Welsh Senned. We can appoint and remove MPs, change taxes, change the amount we spend on the military, the welfare state.

We can’t do that here, if we leave we cannot go back (in anything even vaguely like our current state).

For that reason (the irreversibility of the action) I support a supermajority requirement.

At least we need to check again now that people have an actual three options to choose between rather than a plethora of incompatible promises which.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: What I don't understand

It might have been a 'simple majority' threshold, but it was actually passed by a greater than 2/3rds majority.

That's a supermajority, even if it didn't require it.

Any claim that the basically drawn poll in 2016 is the largest mandate ever is a bare faced lie.

* Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers

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Re: Hang on

The French referendum wasn’t a UK referendum though - that one garnered more than 2/3rds of the vote...

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Hang on

It might not have been applied, but the votes would still have passed if they had required a 2/3rds majority.

This was a draw in referendum terms.

John Robson Silver badge

The easiest question for the 'no second referendum' group is - what are you scared of - being able to judge the will of the people?

Apple's revamped iPad beams a workhorse in from Planet Ludicrous

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Still waiting...

For the single device that sits in my pocket/bag, with various remote interfaces (phone, watch, tablet) and a nice easy docking port (looks like that's easy with USB type C and thunderbolt) to hook it up to monitors/peripherals when I get to a desk.

PuTTY in your hands: SSH client gets patched after RSA key exchange memory vuln spotted

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Re: "basically operated by one volunteer in charge of a small team of volunteers"

You don't necessarily have to validate anything yourself - but the availability of the source code means that anyone can.

Yes, this includes the black hats - but it also includes the white hats (in this case sponsored by the EU).

With closed source (deliberately not conflating commercial/non-commercial with closed/open source) you can't do this nearly as easily.

Open source doesn't guarantee security any more than closed source does - but one thing is for sure. If there is an open source program which people rely on, and it has a security bug - it will get fixed.

If it's closed source and the company has decided that there is more money in the latest shiny thing - then you're completely out of luck.

It's that OSS is *more* secure than closed source, but then it isn't natively less secure either. Certainly at or around EOL then OSS becomes much more secure-able.

UK code breakers drop Bombe, Enigma and Typex simulators onto the web for all to try

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And no mention of the best emulator?

The Pringles can enigma...

One link of many on your favoured search engine:


Airlines in Asia, Africa ground Boeing 737 Max 8s after second death crash in four-ish months

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Paul - just look at the road...

There has been one, well published, fatality as a result of a <disable libel legislation>knowingly negligent</libel legislation activated> company disabling safety systems.

Their particular software was also way behind the capabilities of other vendors, and they had decided that they didn't need both a test operator and a safety driver.

How many people have been killed on the roads in the couple of minutes it's taken me to write this comment - it's more than have been killed by even uncertified autonomous systems.

What we don't know is how many people already *haven't* been killed as a result of self driving and/or driver assistance features...

(Yes I know there have been cases of driver assistance programs being blindly trusted to death, but that's different from an actually self driving vehicle.)

Canada has lunar dreams as Germany worries about what lies beneath

John Robson Silver badge

Extend perigee?

Doesn't one burn at perigee to extend apogee - which is what you need to get out towards the lunar SOI (Yes simplistic two body modelling rules ;) )

Google recalculated its wages, and yup, raises for underpaid fellas. So can you forget those gender discrim claims?

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Well... go on then?

"That restriction sounds specifically tailored to exclude certain teams or groups. Can anyone think of a valid reason for it?"

Statistical analysis on small groups is pointless... but it might also be that 99% of their employees are in larger groups. It would be interesting to know how many people were excluded from the analysis based on the <30 or the <5...

SpaceX Crew Dragon: Launched and docked. Now, about that splashdown...

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Re: What's it really all about?

You pick out the SRBs as old tech and ignore the shuttle engines?

IIRC the SRBs have at least been redone to have fewer joints (I.e o-rings)

John Robson Silver badge

The issue is life support, not deltaV

John Robson Silver badge

Be fair...

It's a way to get to anything in LEO - at the moment the ISS is the only reasonable destination, but with the IDA likely to be reused there is no reason that future stations - whether military, scientific or commercial, shouldn't be able to use the dragon.

The concept of doing Apollo style take off/ return at the "Earth end" of any voyage does have some benefits.

Register lecture: Teaching self-driving cars how to be more human

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The barrier is much higher...

After all killing someone with a vehicle normally results is nothing more than a minor slap on the wrist and permission to do the same again...

Crowdfunded lawyer suing Uber told he can't swerve taxi app giant's £1m legal bill

John Robson Silver badge

Can we not find a bankrupt ex business man

to be the front for the case?

Fancy a .dev domain? They were $12,500 a pop from Google. Now, $1,000. Soon, $17.50. And you may want one

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Spam coming soon

There's an apostrophe missing, too: others'

No, it's just on holiday, one word over.

Huawei hasn't yet fixed its security vulns, says UK's NCSC overseers

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Re: Different issues

Completely different, but most people won't see that.

Headline is that we don't use it.

I wonder, do we have a source code viewing arrangement with the other suppliers of said kit? Or do we just know about these potential weaknesses because that's where we looked.

Guess who's working on a health data-slurping digital tool? Bzzt! Nope, it's the UK Department for Work and Pensions

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Consent?

There is a (large) gap between the evidence they need and the data they will take - they are also claiming consent when none can be given.

Why not just acknowledge that it’s non consensual, but a requirement of the application.

They could just take a letter from a GP/consultant, but they don’t.

John Robson Silver badge


Yeah - in that "consent or get no support".

At what point is coerced consent no longer consent?

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin

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The "actual size" demon...

Oh Snapd! Gimme-root-now security bug lets miscreants sock it to your Ubuntu boxes

John Robson Silver badge

Re: This talk, on youtube, is worth a watch.

“We need a lot of the things SystemD provides. We don't need them executed poorly.”

We probably don’t *need* most of them, but we certainly don’t need them to be poorly implemented...

But most of the objections I have and see are not to do with the implementation but are either ‘it’s change’ or ‘Poettering is an arse’

John Robson Silver badge

Re: snapd and systemd

Much as I dislike systemD...

This talk, on youtube, is worth a watch.

No fax given: Blighty's health service bods told to ban snail mail, too

John Robson Silver badge

Re: "A letter lost in the post could be the difference between life and death"

"By all means have e-mail communication as an opt-in service, but for the sake of those who can't grasp the technology well-enough, keep the old methods as well."

And for those who can grasp the technology, and want nothing to do with it.

I can see a 'there's something in your GP portal to look at' email/sms/letter being a reasonable way of getting digital comms out - but that only deals with the people who can use digital comms..

Take your pick: Linux on Windows 10 hardware, or Windows 10 on Linux hardware

John Robson Silver badge

"Until then, I would just be buying something that will be unusable in ~2 years once no updated images are released.

If I wanted to buy something immediately obsolete, I would just buy Apple products!"

I'd buy android...

After all the fruity device my son uses for audiobooks etc is now more than 4 years old, and is asking for the latest software version to be installed.

Whereas many android devices are 'fire and forget' from their manufacturers, never seeing any updates.

You'll always need a device specific kernel, or maybe you should steer clear of x86 specific images as well?

It's now 2019, and your Windows DHCP server can be pwned by a packet, IE and Edge by a webpage, and so on

John Robson Silver badge

Re: people use windows server's DHCP ?

Nightmare of linux patching?

What, updates that don't require a reboot, and can be easily done at any convenient time.

Cross site DHCP and IPAM are all available on linux - I made my living doing such things for a while. And yes there are options, that's not necessarily the bad ting you make it out to be.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: people use windows server's DHCP ?

It's not as if ISC dhcp and dnsmasq (the two obvious 'other' candidates) have never had a bug.

If you run a primarily AD system then using that genuinely does make sense...

I say that as someone who hasn't used MS professionally for over a decade, and who used to sell DNS/DHCP servers/services (not MS based).

I am just a mapper: Solar drones take to the skies above Blighty

John Robson Silver badge

Re: What goes up with the aid of a launcher...

But it also comes down *really* slowly... The speed at which that thing started flying was nice and low (minimise energy expenditure cutting through the air.

You could probably catch it without too much difficulty - Mr Steven would be fast enough...

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Police drama

Are those the cameras that can pick up the colour of nail varnish in the reflection off a car headlight, which can be seen in the reflection of a door handle, which is half a mile away...

John Robson Silver badge

What can you fit in 25kg...

... and what's the power budget of the payload (assuming that it draws power from the batteries that power the craft as well).

Was also rather disappointed by their 'plane/stratosphere/orbit' comparison... you'd have thought that scale would be important in that animation...

Hands up who reuses the same password everywhere, even with your Nest. Keep your hand up if you like being spied on by hackers

John Robson Silver badge



Apple puts bullet through 'Do Not Track', FaceTime snooping bug and iOS vulnerabilities

John Robson Silver badge

Re: users identified by their adblockers?

“F*** O** all advertisers. You are leeches on society and contribute less than zero to it.”

Whilst I roughly agree with your sentiment... my life has been transformed in the last year by a product advertised to me. That I wouldn’t have thought about going looking for.

Adverts that are a plain small image and some text with a link to an actual product (or product family) page are fine. It’s the user tracking that’s both useless (if I have just bought item A, why do you think I need to buy another) and deeply disturbing.

If I’m on a site with specific interests then advertise around that interest.

If I’m in a general site then advertise like a poster on a wall.

But in neither case should the advert flash, make noise, jump about, overlay itself in any actual content...

Google: All your leaked passwords are belong to us – here's a Chrome extension to find them

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Any Safari equivalents?

Ah - no idea.

Annoyingly you can't even get kechain to give you a list of 'weaker' passwords you haven't got round to updating yet...

Pixaaaarrrrrrghh! Mars-snapping CubeSats Wall-E and Eve declared dead (for now) by NASA bods

John Robson Silver badge

"Still, you seem to be worried,"

I'm not worried, I was just wondering...

In the same way we once thought the oceans to be infinite in their capacity to deal with whatever we threw at them - at some point the amount of crap we leave lying around interplanetary shipping lanes might cause an issue.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Six wasps...

"The space between stuff in space is mind-boggling"

Indeed it is, but we're quite likely to start doing this more often, and always targeting 'at or about' planetary orbits, so these will probably be moving with an aphelion somewhere at or beyond mars orbit and a perihelion at or about earth orbit - and on a well aligned plane.

Given that we will always want to be launching for an efficient transfer, and could start launching alot more than a couple of these things... the density will always be miniscule, but something to either make them *really easy* to identify (passive reflectors) or plotting their course to include either aero- or litho- braking at some defined point beyond their mission doesn't seem completely impossible.

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I can’t help but think that debrisnon this scale is going to come back and bite us one day - wonder if/when they next encounter a planetary body...

London's Met police confess: We made just one successful collar in latest facial recog trial

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Apparently the signs were being watched by the cameras in at least one location

RIP, RDP... nearly: Security house Check Point punches holes in remote desktop tools

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Click Bait

The attack being server -> client is interesting though - how do you get remote support from IT? So a compromised lackey desktop is then used to jump to an IT desktop, which is probably a more powerful place to be.

Not all servers are on servers.

Sysadmin's three-line 'annoyance-buster' busts painstakingly crafted, crucial policy

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Great system...

Except all the answers say the same priority is taken...

Which do I load is not a relevant question. Which takes priority per option is - and it’s always system < user < cmdline

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Great system...

Order depends whether your loading is 'last time the variable is set' sticks, or 'first time the variable is set' sticks.

But that's an implementation detail - you load such that command line options override user config overrides system config.

Texas lawyer suing Apple over FaceTime bug claims it was used to snoop on a meeting

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Can he actually provide proof that the Facetime bug actually caused him a problem?

In a meeting - phone on silent...

Hardly seems like a stretch to think that it might have only been noticed later... But the missed calls should tell you who it was anyway...

The D in SystemD stands for Danger, Will Robinson! Defanged exploit code for security holes now out in the wild

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Again

It does, which is why you limit the reach of software. You don't need to log with root level rights.

You get sent data by all and sundry, write it to disk.

Why does that need root privs? (ignore for the moment the perfectly good text based logging we used to have)

systemD might make sense in a few (mostly laptop related) cases, but it make serious compromises in terms of clarity and usability IMHO. No need for it on a vaguely stable system.

John Robson Silver badge

Do one thing...

Do it well...

Then hand over to another tool to do the next thing well...

UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Knee jerk reaction

Unsurprisingly if you limit your focus to the people wearing seatbelts ... they make some difference.

How many of those crashes wouldn’t have happened if people hadn’t been so mollycoddled in their cars?

How many extra people *not* in cars were killed because ‘I’m alright Jack’ wasn’t driving with due care and attention?

Overall road deaths haven’t been dented by seatbelt introduction, popularisation or legislation.

Measure only people who have had a crash whilst wearing them and you see a benefit, look at society as a whole and it vanishes.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Knee jerk reaction

Citation needed to say that they have improved things as well...


Particularly interesting is page 8-10 if you don’t feel like reading more of it.

The death rate on the roads has had a steady 5% decrease year on year - completely unaffected by seatbelt initiatives or virtually any other ‘car safety’ feature. Medicine sure has improved though.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Knee jerk reaction

"Curiously, at this time, one real success has been mandatory wearing of seat belts, even despite it only applying on a sliding scale of crown ownership ..."

Depends on your definition of success - it hasn't made the roads any safer..

Build the wall... around your DNS settings, US govt IT staff urged by Homeland Security amid domain hijackings

John Robson Silver badge

Re: This is a joke right?

"I suppose that the political types thought that since the government was shutdown, the miscreants of the world would also be shutdown. "

To be fair the world's biggest miscreant has been shut down - at least partially...

Slack to fend off the collaboration competition with... a new logo

John Robson Silver badge

Who needs file transfers for a chat - just drop a link to your local ftp server.

VoIP can be replaced by talking with people, or any other VoIP solution. Not every tool needs to do everything.

You just sent them a note with the room in it... how hard can it be?

And no inline images make for a much cleaner chat... in slack mine are generally unexpanded (and the chat is better for it).

John Robson Silver badge

Last time I ran an IRC server it took about 5 minutes to get up and running, never touched i again in three years

Most munificent Apple killed itself with kindness. Oh. Really?

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Look it's really quite simple.

Various distributions of linux have LTS options if you don't want to have to upgrade very often.

Then dump your existing Win7 install into a VM for anything that desperately needs MS... Just don't connect it to a network.

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