* Posts by Colin Miller

581 posts • joined 19 Apr 2007


Oh cool, the Bluetooth 5.1 specification is out. Nice. *control-F* master-slave... 2,000 results

Colin Miller

battery state

On thing the BlueTooth spec could do with is a method to query the deivice's battey's charge level.

That way your phone/pc will watn you when your headphones have less than 1 hour's charge left

Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us

Colin Miller


How are they going to launch the birds? On a modified Blue Streak? It shouldn't be too hard… Wait, ah, err…

'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

Colin Miller

Re: Not voting...

In the UK, if a ballot paper is spoilt, then all the candidates (or their agents) must agree that it's spolt. So, should you wish to, you can use this to tell the candidates why none of them are worthy of your vote.

Sysadmin shut down the wrong server, and with it all European operations

Colin Miller


On *nix machines, the mollyguard package installs a set of wrappers around shutdown, reboot, poweroff, etc. If it detects that you are inside a ssh session, it will ask you for the name of the box you intend to shutdown. It refuses to shutdown if you aren't on that box.

It doesn't normally intervene for console and desktops, so be careful with KVMs

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Colin Miller

Re: So if they are taking their ball home...

The UK isn't the only EU member-state who has English as an official language.

Fed up with Facebook data slurping? Firefox has a cunning plan

Colin Miller

You forgot fbcdn.net (FaceBook Content Delivery Network) and probably many others

FYI: There's a cop tool called GrayKey that force unlocks iPhones. Let's hope it doesn't fall into the wrong hands!

Colin Miller

Re: If the police have got one...

IIRC, the fingerprint data is stored on a PIC that is dedicated to the reader. The main CPU asks the PIC if the fingerprint is correct. If it is, then the PIC releases an asymmetric key to the main CPU. This then unlocks the flash drive.

Good luck saying 'Sorry I'm late, I had to update my car's firmware'

Colin Miller

I am doubtful of this anecdote. The update screen quite clearly tells you how long it will take and you have to accept the dialog window to continue. They usually say a time > 1hr but often complete a bit quicker. You can also schedule it for any time you like (defaults to 2am or something like that) so there was no need to try and cram it in before a trip either.

It would be useful if the car reminded you of an update when you turn the ignition off. A fair number of folks could well forgot between being told at the start of their drive, and arriving at their destination.

'A sledgehammer to crack a nut': Charities slam UK voter ID trials

Colin Miller

European ID cards

If the Swedish or German government inroduced an ID card, would I trust them to make individual privacy a top priority, and to not subvert the scheme into a means of tracking every detail of their subjects' activities? Possibly. Would I trust Amber Rudd with the same question? Absolutely not.

Germany does have ID cards - they're administrated by the Länder, the 16 federal states, but are now printed centrally. The Länder are on strict instructions, that should the Federal Government become authoritarian, they are to destroy their records. The reasons for this should be obvious to all.

Sweden also has ID cards.

The EU has a list of all identifying documents issued by each member. However, it doesn't indicate what can be used if the police ask you for ID. Britain is one of the few countries that accept your driver's license, which doesn't indicate your citizenship, only which country it was issued by. However, the police will check with the Home Office if they have doubts over a persons citizenship.

UK.gov: Use police body cams to grill suspects at scene of crime

Colin Miller

Copy for the suspect?

Do body-worn cameras have two independent recording systems, as required at a police interview suite? The suspect is entitled to a copy of their interview (in reality, this is given to their lawyer).

Without this, I think a good lawyer will be able to have the interview struck off as being illegally conducted.

Facebook claims a third more users in the US than people who exist

Colin Miller

Dual accounts?

FB may well have 41 million US 18-24 year old with accounts. Some folks may have two accounts, either from abandoning one (forgotten password, too much bullying on the first account).

Or some folks may use two accounts. If you are a closeted LGBT person, you may one for your family who you are not out to, and a second one for your real persona.

Set your alarms for 2.40am UTC – so you can watch Unix time hit 1,500,000,000

Colin Miller

Re: Signed Integer


Uh, for an absolute value, why would you store that in a signed integer? In what scenario is a negative time since epoch useful? An unsigned integer would have given 136-some years of reliability.

Using a signed time_t allows you to use time_t for both datetime, and for a duration. This is useful in procedural languages like C, however most OO languages use a separate DateTime and Duration types.

Colin Miller

Re: Year 2106

@AC, Yup, GPS counts the number of weeks since 1980, as a 10 bit unsigned integer. Thus it loops every 19.6 years. Wikipedia. Of course, if you don't know which decade it is, you've got bigger problems.

When we said don't link to the article, Google, we meant DON'T LINK TO THE ARTICLE!

Colin Miller

ask for a clarification?

If I'm reading this correctly, then Zenith-Betriebe* is concerned that Der Tägliche Iris** inaccurately reported on allegations against Zenith-Betriebe. This allowed Der Tägliche Iris's readers to form the wrong conclusion about the type of fraud alleged against Zenith-Betriebe.

So why didn't Zenith-Betriebe contact Der Tägliche Iris, and ask them to correct their article? Instead it appears that Zenith-Betriebe went straight to the right-to-be-forgotten law.

*, ** all names used are fictional, and any relationship to any real entity is accidental and unintentional.

Cold callers illegally sold Aussie farmers 1,700 years worth of printer ink

Colin Miller


USB to Centronics adaptors are available; CUPS on a RaspberryPi should be able to print to it.

All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker

Colin Miller

Re: On a different topic - The Photo

That's a different ship, a floating dry dock. They submerge most of the way, slip under the ship to be carried, and then lift up. She seems to be a bit stern-low in the photo.

There's a photo of a different one, the Mighty Servant II carrying the 138metre, 4100 ton USS Samuel B. Roberts on wikipedia

Passengers ride free on SF Muni subway after ransomware infects network, demands $73k

Colin Miller

Re: Design failure

> ' *after* it goes wrong it's "how could you let this happen!"'

> Let's hope someone has the relevant emails backed up. Off-line naturally.

This reminds me of the Abigail Oath, whch goes:-

I am hired because I know what I am doing, not because I will do whatever I am told is a good idea. This might cost me bonuses, raises, promotions, and may even label me as “undesirable” by places I don’t want to work at anyway, but I don’t care. I will not compromise my own principles and judgement without putting up a fight. Of course, I won’t always win, and I will sometimes be forced to do things I don’t agree with, but if I am my objections will be known, and if I am shown to be right and problems later develop, I will shout “I told you so!” repeatedly, laugh hysterically, and do a small dance or jig as appropriate to my heritage.

Your body reveals your password by interfering with Wi-Fi

Colin Miller


Windtalkers was the name give to the US Army's Native Americans who were used as radio operators in WWII. Their Navaho (I think that was the main language used) was totally impenetrable to anyone (ie Japanese and German) who might be listening in.

Finally, that tech fad's over: Smartwatch sales tank more than 50%

Colin Miller

Market saturation?

I doubt if the fad is over, I suspect that it has reached near-saturation. Almost everyone who wants to have a smartwatch now has one, and they don't see a good reason to replace/upgrade their current one.

Thunder struck: Apple kills off display line

Colin Miller

Re: Apple displays

Actually, The Sale of Goods Act (1968) predates the EU by a long chalk.

A UK digital driving licence: What could possibly go wrong?

Colin Miller

Data Proectection Act

Surely the DVLA have a duty under the DPA (or the data protection directive as it is now) (article 6) to

Personal data may be processed only insofar as it is adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and/or further processed. The data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that data which are inaccurate or incomplete, having regard to the purposes for which they were collected or for which they are further processed, are erased or rectified.

If they accidentally remove someone's license entitlements, then they have breached the directive, and must correct this as soon as they have been notified.

Has there been any cases of the DVLA been taken to court over the DPA?

Compression tool 7-Zip pwned, pain flows to top security, software tools

Colin Miller

Re: 2016

Valgrind doesn't work on Windows, and is unlikely to ever do so.

Linux command line mistake 'nukes web boss'S biz'

Colin Miller

Only mount today's backup

If you're using NAS for your backups, then in the name of the Wee Man, only mount today's directory.

That way, you can't trash other days' backups.

ExoMars probe narrowly avoids death, still in peril after rocket snafu

Colin Miller

Deinococcus radiodurans is resistant to radiation, cold, desiccation and vacuum. An experiment was performed where a microbe, probably D.R, was placed on the outside of the ISS. It was still viable after 1.5 years.


Get lost, Windows 10 and Phone fans: No maps HERE on Microsoft's OS

Colin Miller

Re: Without a decent mapping solution...

What's the state of Bing! Maps on WinPho?

If NatWest texts you about online banking fraud, don't click the link

Colin Miller


Is he sure it's not a spoofed sender, anda scatter-gunned SMS.

iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970

Colin Miller

NTP rejects bogus times?

Doesn't NTP, by default, reject anything that is more than 1000 seconds (about 20 mins) different that the current time?

Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

Colin Miller

analogy for Warfare

Go makes an interesting analogy for Warfare.

If you play too agresively and spread yourself thinly over the entire board, you will end up being surrounded and be totally annihilated.

If you play too defensively and stay in one corner, your opponent will capture the rest of the board, and you will lose badly.

Turkish carder scores record 332-year jail term

Colin Miller


This makes Bernie's Madoff's 150 year sentence for running the largest Ponzi schemes look positively lenient.

Remembering those who logged off in 2015

Colin Miller

Leonard Nimoy

I can't believe that the article didn't, and no commentards have, mentioned Leonard Nimoy.

BBC News website takes New Year's Eve break

Colin Miller

Re: Auntie Beeb's 500 moment of hell?

Possibly should be 503-Service Unavailable or 504-Gateway Timeout instead.

Microsoft whips out PowerApps – now your Pointy Haired Boss can write software, too!

Colin Miller

Re: What is or who is PHB?

The Pointy-Haired Boss in the Dilbert cartoon. He's the archetypal incompetent clue-less manager

Downloads for Windows 10 November big-bang build axed by Microsoft

Colin Miller


rather than have each computer upgrade to the latest build of Windows 10 via gigabytes and gigabytes of Windows Update downloads

I thought that Win10 Home shares patches between machines on the same network, thus they only have to be downloaded once. Machines on a corporate network will normally connect to a WUS server, which controls and caches which updates will be applied.

Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Colin Miller


uses Encryption By Default, with a 128AES/SHA256 key, TLS v1.2

Is that suitably weak for you Hilary?

Man goes to collect stolen-car court docs found in stolen car in stolen car

Colin Miller

He's got a rival in this dim-witted chap who turned up to court, on a charge of supplying cocaine, where he was found innocent. However, he had cocaine in his personal effects at the time, and was up before the beak again, where he plead guilty. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/16/man-jailed-after-turning-up-in-court-dock-with-large-amount-of-cocaine


What's Russia smoking? Kremlin bans Wikipedia for dopey article

Colin Miller


Erowid's Psychoactive Vaults is only a click away, unless you live under Mother Russian's apron strings.

Ten extreme data centres. OK...nine

Colin Miller

Re: If you have nothing to photoshop...

Probably taken from The Church Sign Generator

WHY did NASA probe go suddenly SILENT - JUST as it was about to send pics of remote ice-world?

Colin Miller

Flyby is fixed

Closest approach will occur on Fri 14 July, 11:49:57 UTC, regardless if the probe is in safe mode or not. It's not asif it has any friction or Δv.

Heinz cockup sees Ketchup's QR codes spurt saucy sites

Colin Miller

QR codes are just plaintext. By convention it's a URL, but that's not required.

The safer thing to do is have the QR contain heinz.de/promo which is a redirect to the real promo site. That way, when the promo ends, the redirect can be changed to a page that reads 'We are sorry, but the promotion has ended. Please enjoy the exciting Heinz Germany site'. The promo site can then be left to expire.

The watts in a box that kept West London's lights on

Colin Miller

<quote>If this happened anywhere outside London don't expect any help whatsoever.</quote>

Have you ever heard of Aggreko? They are one of the biggest generator hire companies, and their UK operations based in Glasgow. They provided 200MW of generators when Japan got a bit wet in 2011.

Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

Colin Miller

Re: Obscure knowledge got me a job ....

Edlin was in MS-DOS 3.1

New antenna supports all three wireless charging standards

Colin Miller

Re: Yet another thought

Isn't it 198 kHz?

Quid-A-Day kids chow down on foraged weed salad

Colin Miller

Dandelion leaves…

… are best eaten when they are young; they only get stringy as they get larger. They add a bit of nuttiness to salads.


Colin Miller

Re: below is a list where DRM successfully stopped piracy

Is Cowell any worse than SAW were?

Costa Coffee Club members wake up and smell the data breach

Colin Miller

Password format

[Costa are going to] implement a "new format" for users' passwords.

Am I cynical enough to read that as "storing it hashed and salted, rather than plain-text"?

Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

Colin Miller


Obviously, his homoeopathy stress-relef pills aren't worth the sugar they're made from.

Watch: Nasty JPEG pops corporate locks on Windows boxes

Colin Miller

extention hiding?

Hold a tick,

does this need the server admin to open what s/he thinks is foo.jpeg, but is really foo.jpeg.apx ? I'd suspect that most admins turn of extension hiding in File Explorer as soon as Windows is installed. Does it still work in that case?

IWF took down over 31,000 child sexual abuse URLs in 2014

Colin Miller

Re: I was wrong.

It was The Scorpions Virgin Killer that triggered the block on Wikipedia. However, both Nirvana's Nevermind, and Led Zepplin's Houses of the Holy were discussed in the subsequent fallout.


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