* Posts by John Robson

1718 posts • joined 19 May 2008

No laptop ban on Euro flights to US... yet

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: implemented in software

Doesn't need his minions - just WannaCry with a more subtle payload.

1
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Is my laptop going to get stuck out there then? Flying out for the week on Monday (only a week, so hand luggage only).

If 45 carries on like this then is there a chance that I'll get in with my laptop but not be able to get back?

0
0

We're heading back… to the future! Net neutrality rules on chopping block

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: "Bad corporate culture"

"So if compromising means allowing a part of the population to quite literally crush another because of its skin colour, I'm not looking forward to it."

The problem is that not compromising means that the very few people who have wealth crush everyone else to keep it that way.

There might not be 'poor' seats on the bus or in the cafe, but that's only because the oppressors have no intention of ever sharing space even that close to the rest of us.

0
0

IoT needs security, says Microsoft without even a small trace of irony

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: No direct net access

"Awesome idea, but don't we need to do something about that "I" in "IoT" then...? I propose "LoT" after "LAN"... If it pans out as expected and turns out to be inherently more secure, we could even call it "LoST" for "safe" or "secure"..."

The hub can easily be remotely accessible. But it should be it's own VPN endpoint (I don't need to access the lightbulbs in *that* many households) by default...

I might not need it to be a VPN endpoint, but that's only because I can already VPN into home...

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

No direct net access

These things should all be useable on a lan, without internet access.

Control may need to be from a container running on a generic 'hub', but there should be no need to rely on a specific company still being there in a few months.

9
0

Do we need Windows patch legislation?

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: All products have a support life

"You wouldn't claim that a car maker is at fault if a car explodes when somebody maliciously shoots it with a gun."

Ford Pinto.

I think we would. systems should be built with some level of resliance.

I don't know how many Win98 systems are still around, but MS probably have a reasonable idea of how many there are...

WinXP is still widely deployed - and security fixes (NOT increased functionality, new drivers etc) should be maintained for a *very* long time.

OTOH should we also be looking at the suppliers of MRI scanners etc which are often blamed for being the cause of 'staying on a known OS'. They ought to be obliged to release software for newer versions of their chosen OS (whether that's MS/OSx/*nix/*BSD/....) for the expected lifetime of the machine (probably more than the expected life actually)

7
2

NASA nixes Trump's moonshot plan

John Robson
Silver badge

"the rocket that takes the United States to Mars"

Now there's a plan...

23
0

Sweaty fitness bands fall behind as Apple Watch outpaces sales

John Robson
Silver badge

I know a fair few people who have them...

But not as fitness devices.

The Pebble I was borrowing died eventually, and I'm not replacing it.

It was quite fun, but it just made any phone notification a full scale distraction.

3
0

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

John Robson
Silver badge

Yes,

And people try to encourage apathy by suggesting to those voting the way they don't want them to that it's a done deal, so there is no need to go and vote.

Compulsory voting would be good.

As would AVS, or at least an option to either say 'vote for this person' or 'vote against this person'

13
0

Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Two glaring omissions

Particularly if doing from an online interface - you can get to the airport and while away the time telling your bank that you'll be out of the country for a few days...

At least Barclaycard had the grace, when I was doing lots of small trips abroad, to allow me to not cancel the card, but phone them every time I used it after someone started trying CNP fraud on it (which they caught and cancelled anyway)... I couldn't give them a long enough window for them to cancel my card, and issue a new one before my next trip. For some reason they couldn't just issue a new one and cancel the old one once I said I had it...

0
0

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits RC2

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"The main problem, however, was manure. "

Whereas now the main problems are:

- Death through impact (several thousand a year in the UK, many more globally)

- Death through obesity/diabetes (and other symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle)

- Death through air pollution

- Disease through air pollution

- Disease from sedentary lifesytle

- Injuries from collisions.

- Communities isolated from each other

- Kids never seeing the sky

The old problem was too much free fertiliser?

That's not actually that bad a problem - it might take some collection, but that's not too difficult - a manure bag whilst out and about and semi regular 'deposition' points for emptying them.

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"I seem to recall reading that motor cars would never replace horses."

And look at the mess they have caused.

Clearly we just don't know what's good for us...

1
1

Amazon tweaks so-called 'assisted suicide' publishing contracts to ink EU deal

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: As a Consumer...

TO be fair to Amazon here...

OK, I might struggle, because you write in dollars, not pounds. But over here the eBook is subject to VAT and the paper book is not.

The used book is obviously going to be cheaper, but may be somewhat damaged and may not have the availability you want.

You could have got it even cheaper if you had gone to a library of course...

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: A Monopsonist is...

And when you are the middle man you do both. The dominance is in their retail arm, but that means that they buy more books than pretty much anyone else.

So the description is reasonable (when talking about the relationship amazon have with the publishers).

Of course you could argue (as does the linked article) that the description is unreasonable for other reasons.

1
0

Capita's huge role in UK government should go under the spotlight

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: "three million [licence] enforcement visits were carried out in 2015–16"

Hassled me for years when I didn't have a license.

Never visited - I was so looking forward to telling them to get off my drive and never darken my doorway again..

5
0

US Navy developers test aircraft carrier drone control software

John Robson
Silver badge

Really??

"The drone is specifically being developed to be resistant to hackers, according to the USN"

As opposed to every other computer system in the world where resistance to hacking is optional?

(I discount IoT devices for good reasons)

6
0

SpaceX spin-out plans to put virtual machines in orbit

John Robson
Silver badge

Aren't most satellites designed around specific sensor packages?

5
0

M6 crowned crappiest motorway for 4G signal

John Robson
Silver badge

My Sat-Nav doesn't need 4G...

3G is fine...

2
1

Homebrew crypto SNAFU on electrical grid sees GE rush patches

John Robson
Silver badge

"what about Windows service accounts who's passwords never change or passwords of last resort that never change (only useable once central authentication system is unreachable) there are some use cases where hard coded password is the only option, but admin process should change that password on regular basis."

Passwords of last resort don't need regular rotation - the account wants monitoring for login attempts, but the password of last resort is presumably a) horrific and b) printed on two pieces of paper, each held in a safe in separate locations...

Why rotate an unused password - no-one can be getting it by key logger... And the login rate (failed and successful) can easily be monitored

3
1

IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: small city

This does not make it a University, in my opinion, so Taunton does not qualify as a city.

A city needs a royal designation saying it's a city - nothing more, nothing less...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_status_in_the_United_Kingdom

3
0

Tesla hit by class action sueball over autopilot software updates

John Robson
Silver badge

Because even the initial versions we are working with now are better at driving than you are...

The most dangerous thing on the road is the nut behind the wheel - that's what we need to get rid of...

4
2

Worry not, Python devs – you can program a quantum computer

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Schrodinger's bank account

Or maybe they just want to able to do encryption once the quantum cat is out of the proverbial bag/box

4
0

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Zombie hard disk

Slow doesn't help people who can touch type, and so are reading a document off to one side, typing away merrily only to find that some shitty app has decided to tonoffer a reboot, with the yes button as default

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Zombie hard disk

>> How about a blanket OS rule that shit apps can't grab focus unless the last user command was to launch that app?

>I've written software that needs to grab focus (yeah we all claim that). In my case, it is in response to a biometric hardware events​,

So that's a user command, it's just not a mouse/keyboard command.

Rule not violated (in fact it is supported).

Anything that want my attention can send a terminal bell, which can be represented by some audio and/or visual representation of a toddler.

Flash the task bar button, IIRC MacOS does it by bouncing items in the dock.

The PC speaker beep used to be a good option, but I'm not convinced they even exist any more on many machines...

In any case the OS can have the appropriate response configured.

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Microsoft time

"I'm curious - what's the longest "X hours remaining" any of you folk have seen Windows display?"

Sufficiently long that I was pretty confident the the HDD would die before the transfer completed is MS was to be believed (it was several decades, but is now so long ago (hey it might have finished) that I genuinely cannot remember exactly how ridiculous it got)

(This would have been with Win95, maybe 98, with thin coax)

1
0

SpaceX wows world with a ho-hum launch of a reused rocket, landing it on a tiny boring barge

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Question: How many engines does....

Camera at top of first stage, grid fins below, then legs (neatly folded until seconds before hitting the deck) then fire breathing equipment.

First stage returns with the business end still pointing down

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Kerbal Space Program

I still want them to produce an 'alternative' stream with the KSP interface to show the numbers...

NAV ball, and Kerbal Engineer stats etc...

0
0

Cheap, flimsy, breakable and replaceable – yup, Ikea, you'll be right at home in the IoT world

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: If the lights can dim properly....

"Thats an issue with both the dimmer and the bulb."

And when the LED claims to be dimmable, and the dimmer module claims to be LED compatible it's a problem with the manufacturers.

And I'm wondering whether letting lamps do their own dimming isn't that bad an idea.

The issue will always be the comms... I still think that with LEDs we should be doing lighting over Cat5...

PoE and control signals from the same place, all cabled, all simple.

Only works in new builds or major refurbs though...

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: If the lights can dim properly....

But dimmers sold as 'LED compatible' really ought to be able to manage it...

1
0
John Robson
Silver badge

If the lights can dim properly....

Then I might be tempted. I only really need it for the kids' bedroom mind...

Although the hall might not be a bad idea.

Having gone fully LED throughout the house there is an issue that even 'LED specific' dimmer switches don't actually dim LEDs very far. If these lights can actually run properly low level, then I can forgive them a lot.

Plonk the ZigBee gateway on a Sewer VLAN...

0
0

One in five mobile phones shipped abroad are phoney – report

John Robson
Silver badge

Define abroad...

Abroad from where exactly?

5
0

People may have been wrongly sent back to prison over faulty tags

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: So it is unlikely that a first tamper on its own will result in an offender being recalled

"Hopefully the compensation the victims get for unlawful imprisonment will come from G4S profits, not the public purse ?"

Hopefully it will be accompanied by the CEO of G4S, being sent down for the duration of wrongful imprisonment of each person who was so affected.

Possibly we should order the durations longest first, then the employees of G4s by salary (highest first) and apply the 'sentences' imposed in that order.

16
2

Douglas Coupland: The average IQ is now 103 and the present is melting into the future

John Robson
Silver badge

"I think IQ of 100 is determined by the median of the test scores. It could depend on what you mean by "average"..."

IIRC IQ scores conform pretty accurately to a normal distribution curve - so you expect median, mode and mean to be the same.

2
0

UK Home Sec: Give us a snoop-around for WhatApp encryption. Don't worry, we won't go into the cloud

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: perhaps itself encrypted with a key known only to law enforcement

"The argument levelled against "backdooring" is that it opens the door for everyone, not just law enforcement, and I am saying that is simply not the case here.

"

I'm sorry - any key with access to that much data will leak.

You might be better off suggesting that a messaging provider sets up proper encryption, but that by default it copies all messages directly to GCHQ. At least there would be a shred of honesty in there.

9
0

Trump's America looks like a lousy launchpad, so can you dig Darwin?

John Robson
Silver badge

You also need a reasonable body of unoccupied territory (an ocean does quite well for this) in the direction of launch...

3
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Fuel + oxidizer = thrust

http://library.sciencemadness.org/library/books/ignition.pdf

Brilliant book - sufficiently technical to be interesting, but with enough back story and humour (which seems to have been a requirement of those working the industry) to make it a good read if you can't deal with the chemistry.

3
0

Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Cider!

Only one of your five can be in the form of juice IIRC.

Sorry...

6
1
John Robson
Silver badge

I note that the gap...

... between 'occasional' and 'moderate' is very narrow indeed.

Makes a more interesting comparison for most of us I suggest.

3
0

Coppers 'persistently' breach data protection laws with police tech

John Robson
Silver badge

>> but are told if you need to be wary.

>This would be a good way to ensure that no-one who has been convicted of a serious offence is

>considered to have paid off their debt to society. It is also a great way to increase the likelihood that

>the offender will commit further crimes.

>If you can't see how that works, please do sit down and think it through.

Or maybe the 'be wary' flag could expire when the conviction is spent?

0
0

Git sprints carefully towards SHA-1 deprecation

John Robson
Silver badge

To all those saying bah to the concept of dual hashing...

The idea is that you reduce the target to the area of changes which collide in BOTH MD5 and SHA1 (other hashes are available). And that collision also has to make sense in terms of being a file - hopefully of the expected type.

The odds do 'only' go down. But they've only ever been 'long odds' - so making them longer is exactly what we are trying to do...

1
0

Judge issues search warrant for anyone who Googled a victim's name

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: I think we should be told...

My first thought too, but there is a limitation of the time of query - so we'd need to have done it in the past :(

Spoilsports with their narrow warrant ;)

6
0

Manchester college swaps out disk for rackful of hybrid flash

John Robson
Silver badge

My thought exactly - I suspect they used to over provision capacity in order to be able to use more spindles for performance reasons.

2
0

Van Allen surprise: fewer nasty particles than NASA expected

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: "Houston...we have a problem"

No - those astronauts were exposed to about as much radiation as an abdominal/pelvic CAT scan...

However the computers they had were slightly less radiation susceptible than the current generation...

Amy did a video only this week:

YouTube Link (Video ID: bLtgS2_qxJk)

9
0

Headphone batteries flame out mid-flight, ignite new Li-Ion fears

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Water

"They poured a bucket of water on what was suspected to be a lithium fire?"

No - they put a known *lithium-ion* battery fire into a bucket of water.

Which is exactly the right thing to do. Lots of lovely heat absorbing water all around the get the temperature down and stop the reaction.

7
0

UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: I take 2 things from this.

Unfortunately I think the *next* season starts in April :(

Countdown to proxy shift and VPN access in 5..4..3..2..

Not entirely sure that nearly two hours counts as 'a few minutes'

8
0

BBC hooks up with ITV, launches long awaited US subscription VoD

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Please....

"You may also wish to register a complaint with ITV directly about this.

Unless you're on a terrible access network, somewhere rural or on a saturated ADSL, there's no real reason you shouldn't be able to watch live linear content in pseudo HD."

I did..

There is no reason at all... except that they don't support streaming in more than SD (their words when I complained).

My connection is pretty good (~76Mb/s by 17Mb/s), and I virtually never have an issue with iPlayer (certainly not one I've noticed during the rugby - the kids occasionally have to wait a second or two for an on demand show to start).

I'm pretty confident the issue isn't at my end - it's their abysmal streaming platform.

1
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Please....

Let the use iPlayer tech, not ITV.

How do ITV get away with calling ITV hub anything other than a complete technical failure.

It's sufficiently low quality (they claim SD, but I doubt it qualifies as that) that aside from just dropping out on Saturday I couldn't actually tell which big square smudge on the screen was the rugby ball...

iPlayer manages pretty much flawless HD from the same fixtures - it's entirely achievable...

8
0

What went up, Musk come down again: SpaceX to blast sat into orbit with used rocket

John Robson
Silver badge

In case of accident and to have hardware available for debugging in twenty years time

5
0

Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Or we can read this as

50% - I swear I get USB ports wrong 75% of the time.

Out of the two possible orientations it's normally the 3rd or 4th attempt that sees them connect.

The exception is in the office, where I have a USB connector with tape marking 'UP'

12
0

Controversial opinion alert: Privacy and the public cloud – not just possible, but easy

John Robson
Silver badge

Why...

Are we not distributing public keys (for everything, crypto and authentication) over DNSSEC?

It's not as if this is a new problem - is it?

Key rotation and replacement becomes a simple job for the person receiving the data - distribution is handled automatically.

Have a reverse lookup of the key with a flag to indicate key revocation before the expiry date.

1
0

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017