* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

2763 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US intelligence: Snowden's latest leaks 'road map' for adversaries

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Backdoors @AC

"No, I think he was saying they've weakened the standards themselves through their influence over the standardization process. Even if perfectly implemented, the resulting ciphers have weaknesses that the NSA can exploit."

That is my interpretation of what he says, too. The standards are broken from the point of view of the user, so it doesn't matter whether it is black-box or otherwise.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: @stuff and nonesense - While the Soviet Bloc was crumbling @RobHib

"And why with Britain's remarkable history—of Agincourt, Trafalgar, Waterloo, WWII defiance and all that stuff—haven't the British citizenry actually declared war on all that surveillance nonsense?"

Those were all fights against "the other"; Johnny Foreigner, you know. There has only been one genuine revolution in the entire history of the country - the English Revolution - but even that went back to "business as usual" after a short while. We have had a tendency to send the kind of people brave enough to stand by non-officially approved principles abroad over the years. We have no idea how to rebel effectively, and will tut at anyone that does.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: So which is it? @AC OP

"If it's not news, how does it help our enemies?"

I actually thought that disconnect would be the first comment on here. It sticks out like a sore thumb, because it really does show who these clowns think the enemy actually is - us!

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: they are only doing their job

"... it is nice to finally have some solid confirmation, especially for the less technical folks who thought people that believed this was happening were just crazy."

My thoughts exactly, except it was not just the "less technical folks" on here who were trying to make us look like tin-foil-hatters (you know who you are, guys). Remember every time someone came on to say "Why would anyone want to look at you boring stuff?", or "Do you realise how big a system would be required to do this?"?

Sadly, not one of those people, who post here regularly, have said "Ooops, you were right! Sorry!!". They just come on and tell us that it was to be expected, why should we worry, and versions of "nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

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Amazon to offer FREE smartphone?

Intractable Potsherd

Re: The name's already taken. @jonathanb

"Jaguar Land Rover has being performing much better since Tata took it over from Ford."

True, but Ford kept them alive for Tata to buy. GM's appalling failure to keep a great marque like SAAB going shows it's utter incompetence.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Seems pretty hard to make back the price of a $100 phone

I'm not so sure about the "leave stuff out and make it cheap" aspect, at least initially. My thought on this is for Bezos to make a phone that has ~90% of what the best phones have, in a durable, changeable case (with at least some being waterproof), with capacity for easy upgrades (SD slot, possibly easily changeable camera module etc), and definitely replaceable battery, with new versions of the OS pushed out as soon as they become available. You don't have to give out new phones to a huge percentage of people every 1-2 years - people will *buy* bits to customise their camera when it starts to meet whatever criteria they have for "it doesn't suit me any more". If he can defeat the "upgrade entire unit every x months" cycle, he may well be on to a winner.

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Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Truth or consequences @ Headmaster's child AC

It is a philosophical rule that an "ought" cannot be derived from an "is". Just because the current situation may be as you describe, it doesn't mean that it should be.

This headmaster is a frighteningly stupid person who feels that freely expressing doubt about the existing government's abilities, and indeed any government's potential to misuse its power, is a bad thing. I'm glad that I have never had to deal with such an authoritarian tosser in any of my education.

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Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Bull Run & Edgehill - Civil War?

I'd spotted the Edgehill significance, but didn't know about Bullrun. Thanks for the information, though it doesn't make me any happier ...

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Classified TV drama

When I saw the codename of the GCHQ program is "Edgehill" I got worried. It was the first pitched battle in the English Civil War ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Edgehill

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Intractable Potsherd

@dan1980

Obviously, it isn't just Google that has "rogue engineers" ...

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: GCHQ are doing their job @dephormation

It is becoming clear that the powers that be are very frightened of the population. We *are* "the adversary" from their point of view.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Disinformation is their secret weapon @Charles 9

Yes, even in those cases. Without due process, the "good guys" are indistinguishable from the "bad" ones.

Besides, give me a non-movie-plot scenario (i.e. one that is actually likely) in which your case would apply.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Really? No @ Richard Jones 1

"It said that 1 in 5 who raised a 'search eyebrow' had suspect connections so lets look at that ... [They] simply show that care is needed when reading statistics."

You are right - it is important to read exactly what is written, and what is missing. However, it is conceivable that the alphabet agencies intend that the figure will be read as "1 in 5 applications" so that the average punter will think "Gosh, look how many bad people there are threatening our safety! How can anyone question what they are doing?"

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'Unreliable, shambolic' ... a top CompSci prof slams Serco's UK crim tag tech

Intractable Potsherd

Re: No need to worry...

Serco and G4S - both companies I'd trust as far as I could spit a full-grown African bull elephant ...

Privatisation of policing and punishment is completely wrong.

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Phone-blab plod breaks PRIVACY law after crash victim's 5hr ditch ordeal

Intractable Potsherd

@NightFox

"... it's just not practical to call out the dogs, helicopters, search teams etc every time a driver's unaccounted for."

So maybe it is time for the police in these areas to have genuinely useful tech that provides a service to the public, such as infra-red cameras?

Oh, silly me: police tech is all about controlling the population, not helping them.

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Finns, roamers, Nokia: So long, and thanks for all the phones

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Jorma Ollila / Jolla

"The question is, will anybody (other than geeks) be interested in a new smartphone from Nokia with an unknown operating system and no apps in two years' time, even if it can 'sort of' run Android apps?"

That is a very good question, but I've got my Jolla T-shirt, and I'm waiting to chuck the balance of a new phone at them in order to find out! Oddly, I'm quite excited about it in a way I haven't been since I was kid waiting for Christmas

!

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: "...even if not everyone knew where Finland was"

On a slightly different, but related, point my first mobile was a Phillips Savvy, because it was made by a European firm. I didn't even consider Nokia because I thought it was Japanese ... specifically, made by Nikon!

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Nokia's real fall

I agree with what others have said - the damage was done before Elop was appointed. The fact that Nokia needed to appoint someone with his credentials at that point was a sign that the board had diddled the dog seriously. Whether Elop was a good thing or a bad thing for Nokia is outside my ability to say, but it *was* inevitable that Microsoft were going to absorb Nokia as soon as his appointment was announced, and nothing will change my mind on that.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Nothing lasts forever @AC12.15

"Hindsight is an amazing thing, so many armchair CEOs out there who make comments like "well, of course anyone could see that..." when in actual fact they have no knowledge of the upper workings of even the simplest corporation."

True, but when people who *do* claim to know the workings of corporations can run a company that anyone here would have regarded as unassailable much less than ten years ago onto the rocks, and without any outside assistance, one is forced to wonder whether the wrong people become upper management.

The article starts with the words "... Nokia has sold its mobile phones unit to Microsoft: a decision that weirdly seems both inevitable and shocking at the same time." It *is* shocking - this shouldn't be happening in a sane world - but, ever since Elop took over (which brings us back to questions over the actual abilities of upper management to find their own arses with a map and torch), this situation *was* inevitable, and not in a good way. The smartphone world needs more competition amongst platforms, not less. I hope the good folks at Jolla Oy can take over what should be Nokia's place in the world ...

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Smartwatch craze is all just ONE OFF THE WRIST

Intractable Potsherd

Re: I gave up

Yes - the ability to show time in 24 hour format is a key plus of digital watches. That and not having to mess about winding the date forward every couple of months.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: nothing wrong with digital watches

Interesting comments re: accuracy. I have a cheap quartz digital, and a more expensive quartz analogue with digital extras, such as a second time display. The cheap digital keeps very good (<1 second per month) time. The analogue drifts by 5-6 seconds per month on the fingers, and 3-4 seconds on the digital display.

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Intractable Potsherd
Pint

@stratofish

You, sir or madam, are an utter bastard! I'm getting odd looks from the wife because of my sudden outburst of laughter, and now I'll have to try and explain it!!

Have one on me --->

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: I remember watches @Omgwtfbbqtime

"Pretty much stopped wearing a watch with the advent of the mobile phone -"

I'm in the other camp - you will pry my watch from my cold, dead ... errr, wrist. I feel naked without one, and, given the option of the alarm clock, mobile, and watch on the bedside table, if I want to check the time in the middle of the night, it will be the watch I reach for.

However, I don't see me getting one of these smart-watch thingies. As others have said, I like having something that does a job for many months/years (depending on which watch) without having to worry about the battery going flat at an inconvenient time.

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It's the software, stupid: Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch bags big apps

Intractable Potsherd

Re: I have a smart watch

Out of interest, what watch is that? It sounds just what I'm looking for.

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Doctors face tribunal over claims of plagiarism in iPhone app

Intractable Potsherd

Yes, but to me the case should come first. A finding by the GMC against them will be prejudicial to any legal case brought, especially if there is a jury. This is definitely the wrong way round, since it does not in any way affect patient care, no-one will die or become disabled as a result of their actions, and so there is absolutely no urgency at all.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: "never ever broken a rule, even one totally unrelated to their profession"

@Squander Two:

"Contrary to what a lot of people commenting here think, it's not medical knowledge that's the clincher. A doctor who doesn't understand what's wrong with you can still be brilliant if they acknowledge that they don't know and so defer to another doctor. The big problem you run into with doctors -- the problem that can kill you all too quickly -- is arrogance."

It isn't just doctors - anyone you deal with that is confident enough to say "I don't know, but I do know how to find out" is worth their weight in gold, whether it is your local shopkeeper or a professional. The problem is, as I was once seriously asked by a surgeon, "If I'm going to be cutting you open and rummaging about in your insides, do you want me to come into the room with confidence bordering on arrogance or do you want me to tell you all the times I've had things go awry?" The point is, most of us want the people with our lives in their hands to appear more godlike than human. However, a little humility helps to temper that - the surgeon that failed to act appropriately to save my father's life was retired early as a result of our complaint about his offhand manner when we praised the care but asked why he wasn't transferred to the local centre of excellence. Had he said "I made a mistake" he wouldn't have triggered he investigation that showed he had not followed best practice in his treatment ...

"When they're not sure what's wrong with you but would never admit that, when they're sure that their years of experience mean they can just tell what's wrong with you and so they don't need no stinking tests, when they don't listen to their patients because they know better than some unqualified hypochondriac pleb, when, in short, they are convinced of their own brilliance: that's when you need to get the hell out and find another doctor, urgently. Not that you always have that option. Read the headlines: this is what a large proportion of malpractice and wrongful death cases boil down to. "My husband had brain cancer but his doctor told him to take an aspirin.""

Yes, but the medical training system leads to this. The concept of the differential diagnosis, which essentially places a premium on the most probable cause for any given symptoms, means that an atypical presentation will not necessarily lead to a correct diagnosis. The only option is to send anyone that complains of e.g. recurrent headaches immediately for a brain scan (which might not pick up the problem anyway), instead of suggesting that a trip to the optician is a good idea (which is more likely to pick up the problem).

"Speak to people who go see alternative quacks instead of doctors: they're not all just delusional; plenty of them avoid conventional medicine because they've learnt the hard way that its practitioners are not to be trusted."

We have a difference of opinion about the level of delusion of people that go to unlicenced, unregulated, and/or openly fraudulent "alternative" practitioners. The only way they might be considered to be better off is that they possibly don't risk side-effects from non-active substances. What these doctors have done is make the best available information easy to access for practitioners, thus making it less, rather than more, likely that mistakes will occur. Otherwise, people believing in "woo-medicine" are totally delusional.

"For me, this plagiarism is indicative of arrogance; of contempt for rules and a readiness to lie."

To be fair, my fairly extensive experience of doctors is that they think plagiarism is restricted to cheating in exams. Copyright means as little to them as it does to the average person that downloads music from unofficial sources. You are holding them to higher level of knowledge than they have. That the authors and publisher of the book didn't think of this shows greed and untrustworthiness that concern me far more than the actions of the people that wrote the app.

"But it does depend. 35 in a 30 zone? Who cares? 60 in a 30 zone? Yes, strike the bastard off."

No, it depends on a lot more - had he taken account of all considerations? What was the time and what were the road conditions? Why was he speeding? Was there an emergency situation? 60 in a 30 zone in a heavily built up area with children crossing the road to go to school isn't ever safe (despite the way some of the plod drive when it suits them), but it might be at 4am. Context is all.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Nothing to lose a license over...

As a lawyer and medical ethicist, I'm very much on the side of those who wonder what the hell the GMC is wasting time on this for. If, and only if, they are found guilty of something in a court should this become a Fitness to Practice hearing. With all the piss-poor care that seems to be being reported, one would hope that the GMC has more than enough actual, genuine cases in which fitness to practice should be questioned.

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MPs blocked from ogling 'web smut' 300,000 times – while in Parliament

Intractable Potsherd

Re: I think we're missing the obvious

... and Penistone.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Can't even sort out their own house... @ Gordon Pryra

Clearly I'm not part of the English people, then. I haven't got the government I think the country deserves, and I doubt I ever will.

Also, I now live in Scotland!

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Universal Credit CRUNCHED: Dole handouts IT system to be rebuilt

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Jess-- @ Irongut

When the system only leaves you the option of defrauding it in order to leave it, then fraud is logical.

Let's just pay everyone a nominal, non-means-tested living amount and tax accordingly. Get rid of a whole bunch of bureaucrats who don't give flying fuck about the people they are dealing with in one stroke.

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NAO: UK border bods not up to scratch, despite billion-pound facial recog tech

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Targets?

Yes - the stupid target system encourages the people at the sharp end to find problems even when they don't exist. From the point of view of the Border Force, it is a bad day when there have been no dodgy documents.

Utter insanity ...

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Intractable Potsherd

Thanks, Alister - that's a very fair point to make. This is about politicians scoring points off each other at the expense of the people with no effective say in the matter.

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Intractable Potsherd

Used the automatic gate at Edinburgh airport the other day for the first time. Whilst quicker than Mrs Potsherd who went through the manned gate, it did seem to take an incredibly long time to adjust to my height (short person > taller than average). Didn't especially like having to take my specs off so it could get a reading.

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China, India the key to Micr-okia's fate says IDC

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Lumia already run on "low-end" hardware - and how many apps one needs?

I seem to fall into a slightly different category - I didn't think I would use many apps (which I still think of as "programs"), but, since getting my Note a year ago, I have acquired and regularly use several that are better than the stock items, or have functionality that should have been, but wasn't on the phone, or which only make sense on a phone. Examples? - and note I use these regularly (daily or several time a week): "Co-pilot" for satnav; "MapsWithMe" for offline mapping; a compass widget; "Aldiko" ebook reader; a better Torch widget with three levels of brightness; an easier, more configurable sound-profile manager ("Sound Profile"); an LED-style clock for timing ("StudioClock"); a scanner ("CamScanner"); Firefox and Opera; a better app manager (AppMGR III); a better file manager ("Astro"); a sleep monitor ("Sleepbot"); Google Authenticator; a better calculator; and two Czech-English-Czech dictionaries (fairly niche, I suspect).

Would I go to a platform that didn't offer a wide range of apps? No, I wouldn't. Symbian was killed by too few apps, and Microsoft need to encourage people to be porting their existing apps from other platforms as quickly as possible if they are to survive.

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Bionym bracelet promises to replace passwords with ECG biometrics

Intractable Potsherd

Re: What exactly does it do?

Yes, I'm confused, too, especially since it refers to "continuous verification" (or similar term - I'm not going back to that really smug video to check), implying that there is some active component to the whole thing.*

*Which raises a different issue - sometimes I want to be near my gadgets without actually being logged on to them (think mobile phone lock screen). If this type of "one token for all" idea is to take off, it would need a lot of fine-grain control before I even thought about adopting it (and still probably wouldn't - security in depth).

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Heartbeat waveforms are *very* odd

I'm clearly missing something here. Biometrics is about using aspects of the person that *don't* change much, or only very slowly. All the aspects of the heart's regulatory mechanism are prone to rapid change uncontrollable by the individual (at least, that was accepted wisdom when I did cardiac anatomy and physiology a couple of decades ago). This just looks like a system designed to fail at the important moments - like fingerprint readers on laptops failing to authenticate just before a presentation because the presenter is nervous and has cold, sweaty fingers.

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Microsoft's $7.1bn Nokia gobble: Why you should expect the unexpected

Intractable Potsherd

"A very poor one then. Lumia sales are increasing at over 30% a quarter and Nokia were expected back into profit before the end of the year..."

Hmmmm ... unrealistic conclusions drawn from unsubstantiated figures. If it wasn't for the fact that Elop's ego wouldn't allow him to admit being "poor" at anything, I'd suspect that AC might stand for SE!

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

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Encrypted Contents @MyHandle123

"Guilty conscience is what drives them."

Unfortunately, that is one of the most powerful motivators.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: What about borders?

Yep - remember part, and also have a couple of places where you have altered the key ever so slightly: an O to an 0, or a couple of transposed figures. Even if it is captured, and assuming they don't beat it out of you (but, as has already been said, if they physically have you all that is left is your resistance to "questioning") then there is a level of "something you know" that can't be (easily) guessed.

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Intractable Potsherd
Happy

Re: How about strapping a micro-SD card to a homing pigeon's leg?

"It'd be like the Cold War all over except bird vs bird vs drones disguised a birds and anti-bird artillery batteries surrounding every town, maybe some giant nets too!"

Orwell was a pretty good prophet - it would be great if Hanna-Barbera were, too! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dastardly_and_Muttley_in_Their_Flying_Machines.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Pish @ Michael C.

"It may come as a surprise to you but in democracies governments are elected. People contribute to and develop societies to define and shape the laws we live under, the laws that governments govern. Those are the two most prominent differences between terrorist organisations and governments."

And, as has been pointed out all over the place, the German government of the 1930s was elected.

"Your historical references are all examples of where governments have gone wrong, or were never established by the people."

And what are your criteria for a government that has "gone wrong"? From my point of view, we have one - it is using draconian powers that should only be used in the direst of emergencies to stifle free-speech and legitimate investigation by the press. It is removing freedom from the average individual every day, and has been caught actually having a level of information about the everyday activities of its citizens that a government should never have. It has turned (over a number of terms of parliament, but it is still "the government") the police into a para-military organisation above the laws it is fails to enact without prejudice.

If you are old enough, look back to, say, 1990, and consider whether you would have thought that this country could ever have become what we are living in, and that this discussion could ever have been seriously had by anyone other than those at the very extremes of society. I say it couldn't - the government has gone wrong, it has acted over-zealously in the face of a trivial threat, and we, the population are suffering for it. That, by any definition, is a government gone wrong.

So, what was your point again?

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Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

Intractable Potsherd

Re: So what's changed?

"Jonathan Laidlaw QC said that the information the police had found was, in their view, "highly sensitive material, the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety".

He added that Home Secretary Theresa May believed it was necessary to examine all the data "without delay in the interests of national security". "

I refer all to the comment by Mandy Rice Davies ...

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Reg hack battles Margaret Thatcher's ghost to bring broadband to the Highlands

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Thank you to all concerned

"... a decent short term solution (with fewer challenges) might imo have been taking bookings by phone rather than Internet ..."

Possibly - it depends how many bookings are lost as a result of the current library-trip set-up. I don't know what minority I'm in, but no email/web booking service = no booking at all. I simply do not want to talk to someone to make a booking - it is inefficient and time-consuming. Also, in the event of dispute later, I want to be able to refer to what was sent.

The standard of internet provision up here on the east side of Scotland (which is all I know about because it is where I live) is atrocious. I currently live six miles from the centre of Dundee (the fourth largest city in Scotland), and there is no fibre anywhere around here, and, according to the maps, no plans to put it in. Coming down to ADSL after years of VM goodness is a real let-down. Oh, and for the "well, you chose to live there" - I'm glad you are in a position to choose where you can get work and promotion.

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Why all the fuss about flash? Pin your ears back and find out

Intractable Potsherd

Re: This article is a stub.

I agree, but people who are offering a podcast/e-seminar/whatever term for whatever reason aren't going to give away the information prior to the event. It would be nice if there were transcripts available after, though.

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Space-walker nearly OPENED HELMET to avoid DROWNING

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Drowned in space...

I think you are referring to "The Haunted Spacesuit" by Arthur C. Clake. http://hermiene.net/short-stories/haunted_space_suit.html

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Bradley Manning* sentenced to 35 years in prison

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Intractable Potsherd

Re: Can't do the time, don't do the crime @ Bumpy Cat

"Civilians carrying weapons and shooting are no longer civilians."

How many armed people in the USA? How many rounds expended every year? There are a lot of people shooting there, and so, by your definition, they are not civilians? Or does that only apply when they speak a funny language?

Let me put it this way - wherever you live, if a hostile force invaded, would you let them do what they want, or would you fight? That's the choice the Afghans have.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: Sacked from the Army

"Mandatory down-vote for using the word 'sheeple'."

It's funny how Matt uses that word to describe those who disagree with him, when he is usually supporting the majority case ...

I like a lot of what Matt says, but his use of ad hominem is becoming irritating.

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Intractable Potsherd

Re: No.... @Steve Knox

"The law is not a moral construct."

As a teacher of Law and Ethics, I disagree with you absolutely. Some very respected thinkers do, too.

Your opinion shows you to be a legal positivist, which I shouldn't be surprised by on a site like this - research shows that techie types are more prone to thinking "If X then Y", and expect the law to do the same. It is therefore good that techie types rarely go into law.

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Manning's lawyer plans presidential pardon campaign, says client will appeal

Intractable Potsherd

Re: I'll take odds on this

"The judicial system is in place to protect society from predators like Manning."

Military justice, like military intelligence, is an oxymoron. Do you seriously think this would have happened if Manning had come before a jury of real people?

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