* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Tom 13

Re: using a communications protocol that was invented circa 1974

Actually, you're using one even older than that. Depending on how you count it, it could be as much as 4,000 years old, arguably 1,000 years old, and certainly 411 years old.


Tom 13

Re: especially if it was expensive.

More than that, you have the testing considerations.

The longer a military has existed, the more extensive it's testing regime is. What could be rolled out in 10 years in the 1800s now takes 25 because of lessons we learned rolling out things in 10 years. A civilization advanced enough for space flight to be common would have even longer test times.

Tom 13

Re: scientific and technological progress should falter in the wake

I'd concur except as presented, it wasn't the collapse of an empire it was the restoration of the Republic. So there shouldn't be a collapse.

A more fruitful line of thinking to consider is that for all we love the Rebels, they are the anti-technology, granola eating tree huggers of their universe.

Potent OWA backdoor scores 11,000 corporate creds from single biz

Tom 13

Re: victim being the security company's

That would be the bit that misfired in your brain.

Order of events is:

1. Company is hacked.

2. Company admins belatedly discover serious anomalies in the log files.

3. Company hires security boffins to find the problem.

4. Security boffins find malicious dll file on the OWA server.

So no, the security company was not granted prior access.

Were I to speculate, I'd guess an admin account that was used for mail. If you grab the credentials from the login in a wireless cafe (think StarBucks, back in the day it was the only reason I went there) and realize they are admin credentials when you log into the OWA system, p@wnage is sure to follow.

IPv6 is great, says Facebook. For us. And for you a bit, too

Tom 13

Re: can be 10-15 percent faster over IPv6.

I expect that speed boost will only be true so long as their is such disparity in adoption rates. The closer they get to 50:50 the less the differential, and once IPv6 starts taking over, it will be slower. Maybe the CFO is willing to be an early adopter, maybe he wants to wait.

Hollywood takes a beating in Oscar cybersquatting battle

Tom 13

Re: classic case a few years ago involving Wembley Stadium

In several instances you Brits have far more sensible courts than we 'Merkins do. This is quite probably one of them.

Tom 13

Re: Begging the question

Yep. I find myself asking how long it's going to take GoDaddy to counter-sue for knowingly making a false accusation in court.

Lettuce-nibbling veggies menace Mother Earth

Tom 13

Re: straw man (literally)

Oh it's possible to refute the paper just on the quotes given. Starting from a false pretense gets you nowhere. The point of the food spread isn't carbon, it's a diet that actually keeps you healthy. For a data point I know well, I'll use myself. I love meats (especially bacon), breads, and cakes. I tolerate green beans fairly well, love tomatoes, dislike broccoli and cauliflower and mostly despise rabbit food. On top of which as a computer techie I'm now pretty much a desk jockey who gets no exercise. As a result I currently mass about 50% more than is good for me. So I've started eating more of that stuff I don't like.

Tom 13


Yes, but you have to take into account the energy needs to produce the deodorizers you'll need to use on a daily basis to keep that camel anywhere near your house.

Tom 13

@Lester Haines

That's not entirely true. Over 200 years ago you Brits knew EXACTLY how bad those things are:


WikiLeaks leaks CIA director's private emails – including his nat sec clearance dossier

Tom 13

Re: none of Clinton's emails





And contrary to the spin coming out of the offices still trying to defend this criminal, it does not matter how they were marked. Since she had to agree to protect classified information in order to get her clearance that means she was responsible for knowing what type of information gets classified. One of those types of information is communications from other countries diplomatic staff regardless of actual content. And those were the first ones marked classified on review.

But, I suppose we shouldn't get facts get in the way of a good two minute rant.

Microsoft enterprise licensing partners heading for extinction

Tom 13

Re: The only reason Adobe can get away with this is

Actually it is because their market is so small and specialized. And frankly I don't see even them getting away with it for too much longer. Installing and updating their software is a nightmare in a controlled corporate/government environment.

Why are only moneymen doing cyber resilience testing?

Tom 13

Re: Paris is worse

Ironically these days that might actually make them safer than the ones running Win7 or later.

Tom 13

Re: Why are these systems even on the internet?

Because proper planning and testing for these systems runs 5-20 years and computer tech doubles in power rather more quickly than that. Back in '99 I did a stint visiting various US airports for Y2K scans. Some of the places were still running 386 desktops. So their refresh cycles are slow.

Remember, all these systems were set up decades before the arrival of the internet. Initially they were setup as separated systems. Air gap firewalls were automatic. Building connections was expensive and data transfer was slow. When the internet became widely and cheaply available it was too efficient at transferring data to NOT use it. But the implementations don't take into account the risks associated with it.

Tom 13

Re: Herd immunity

Reading that entire paragraph, I think what we have here is a Buzz Word Bingo player. Or to mangle Inigo Montoya: "I do not think that phrase means what he thinks it means."

Honestly with sophisticated malware being what it is today, I don't think you'll get herd immunity effects even for opportunistic stuff. It's too easy to have a C&C that scans for vulnerabilities once the initial payload reports in.

Research: Microsoft the fastest growing maker of tablet OSs ... by 2019

Tom 13

With that headline I was expecting yet another Gartner report

Guess I'll have to add a new name to the bought and paid for shill list.

EU urged to ignore net neutrality delusions, choose science instead

Tom 13

Re: trying to avoid is the ISP becoming the gatekeeper.

Too late, that horse ran out of the barn long ago, and frankly is probably dead of natural causes.

What I know about Ol' Blighty comes mostly from reading this website. Based on that I gather your ISPs are already also your gatekeepers.

On this side of the pond they pretty much always were.* On the East Coast the two major providers are Verizon and Comcast. Both provide both content and carrier services. Both preferentially treat at least part of that content delivery (cable services) because it is sold as a separate component and under old legal theory ought to be separate from their carrier services (phone and internet). I understand in other parts of the US the names change, but that's about it.

*Yes there was a brief time before the megacorps took over where you could purchase just straight up carriers, but truth be told, back then the carriers were too expensive to really be thought of as consumer commodities.

Web giants, Sir Tim slam Europe's net neutrality rules on eve of vote

Tom 13

Idiots one and all

This is the sort of thing you get when you have one group of lobbyists arguing on behalf of one niche community arguing with the lobbyists of a different niche community with both claiming it's what The People want when the truth is The People themselves are divided about what they want.

In such situations there is only one answer: choice with full disclosure of terms.

Google engineer names and shames dodgy USB Type-C cable makers

Tom 13

Yes, but if he spoke Engrish very goodly nobody wood think he wuz a goud engineere.

Tom 13

Re: weeds out these sort of things.

Actually it doesn't. Bought one a couple months ago from Best Worst Buy. It didn't work, they wouldn't give me my money back because I didn't get it out of the box soon enough. Yes, it was a genuine product with the label and cost appropriately. Ironically the "dodgy" knock off I got from the $5 place works just fine.

Tom 13

Re: Check for the MFi compliance logo

What? You think somebody making a dodgy cable won't forge a compliance logo?

There's an actual value to knowing your sales guy isn't dodgy and isn't buy kit from dodgy oem suppliers. The problem is first finding one, and after that making sure your own PHB doesn't ditch him.

California cops pull over Google car for driving too SLOWLY

Tom 13

@JeffyPoooh Silver badge

It must be embarrassing to correct someone and discover the other person actually had the physics correct.

In the case of a car impacting a wall the energy of the wall is 0. The car hits at m(100)^2. and deforms both itself and the wall according to the energy distributions.

In the case of two cars moving in opposite directions colliding both vehicles have momentum of m(100)2 relative to their crash point. So the energy deforming the cars is m(100)^2 + m(100)^2 which is in fact twice the destructive energy as the wall. Which is exactly what the Charlie said and what police reports record in such incidents.

Tom 13


It's not just the speed differential at issue, important as that is. To use your example if it's posted at 35 and everyone is doing 5 over except the one car at 25, all those cars trying to do 40 are going to attempt to pass the car doing 25. While passing is a low risk move, it's not a no risk move and it IS higher than simply following at a natural interval. Now, it is certainly safer to play Russian Roulette with a 1000 chamber pistol than one with 6, but it still isn't safe. Most people don't think about how apt this comparison really is because they don't think of cars the same way they do guns. But the physics works out that a car doing 55 and a bullet coming out of a gun have about the same momentum. I always remember this because some years ago I read an article in a car magazine entitled "Beretta vs Beretta". The gun manufacturer was suing the car maker for trademark infringement so they took 10 characteristics for the products and compared them. It was a very tongue in cheek article where they noted the gun had better acceleration but the car had a longer range and they slid the gun along the floor trying to bank it in the hallway to get a measure of cornering. Except for the momentum bit where they showed the calculations.

It's Gartner Magic Graph of Wonder time! And Google won't be happy

Tom 13

Re: Gartner

I don't recall, but then I don't need to. I know the magic smoke escaped from Gartner's quadrant a long time ago.

Prison telco recorded inmates' lawyer-client calls, hack reveals

Tom 13

Re: Bah!

Not dumb, arrogant. As in: arrogant enough to think that just because their calls are privileged, they are protected.

Microsoft shelves 'suicidal' Android-on-Windows plan

Tom 13

@Captain DaFt

Well you've chosen the appropriate screen name if you still think people are looking for the XP interface. Windows 7 is just fine. It's the Windows 8 and Windows 8 SP1 (aka Windows 10) interface nobody wants. Perhaps more importantly, it's the attempt to turn MS into a walled garden like Apple that MS consumers don't want.

Tom 13

Re: MS has dropped Android simply because Google could

Not "could" but "are", only I think it's not as intentional as it was with MS and IBM.

One of the biggest complaints about the Android ecosystem is that Google releases updates so fast and the manufacturers don't keep up with them. Mostly because they can't. MS has the exact same problem, only more so. And unlike most of the other problems MS has "solved" it can't be fixed by throwing either more programmers or more marketing at it. In fact, throwing more programmers at it probably exacerbates the problem.

Tom 13

Re: dislike MS though I do, I don't want to see Windows die

Sorry dude. It's already dead. But as we are told about shooting a dinosaur in the head, the rest of the body just doesn't know it yet. And I say that as someone who has always hated Apple's walled garden and preferred the MS world instead.

Tom 13

Re: If you think that "Windows" is a toxic brand name

The same could have been said about Lotus when Quattro introduced their product. Then came Notes. MS did the same thing with Windows 8. We've come to expect every other MS OS to be pretty much a turkey, but they were supposed to fix in Windows 10. But they didn't.

I just finished building out a Windows 10 laptop for my mother. It will likely be the last laptop I build for her. I won't build one for myself. The only reason I built it for her is I know she'll eventually forget and hit the "Free Upgrade to Windows 10" MS has been pushing, because that's pretty much what happened to her last laptop. This App Centric focus of theirs WILL be the death of the company. Everything I don't like about the OS comes from that.

Tom 13

Re: How much money is MS willing to sink on winphone?

Even that isn't quite the right question. The right question is:

How much money is MS willing to sink trying to make two inherently different interface models use the same interface? Because this is a much a problem for them on the desktop side as it is on the phone side. At the moment the answer appears to be "All of it."

More POS malware, just in time for Christmas

Tom 13

Re: If I brazenly go to the cashier's chair in a supermarket


Does your local supermarket have an IT staff on site?

No, mine doesn't either and that's usually the start of the problem. A friend of mine does POS support work for a fast food franchise owner. Last time I checked their staff of 3.5 at the home office supported about 400 stores located mostly in Pennsylvania but with some down in the Carolinas and Texas. Which means almost all of the administration is done remotely. And that's your vector.

I think they've finally gotten off the XP stuff for what amounts to their POS server even though it's a bog standard desktop box for the 3-5 terminals run in the store. I'm less sure the terminals are no longer running embedded XP.

Also remember, since there is no onsite IT staff, the actual IT staff are frequently asking the store manager to be the trained monkey following their over the phone troubleshooting steps. And yeah, some of them are dumber than the managers in El Reg's BOFH articles.

GPS, you've gone too far this time

Tom 13

@Charles Manning

OK, I've glanced at the linked paper and the bit I'd really like to know I can't decipher:

What sort of ballpark for errors are we talking about here?

Tom 13

Re: How far off?

And still they come.

iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Tom 13

Re: the lack of tactile feedback

No, it's worse than that. Because there is no tactile feel I've grown accustomed to watching while I type. I can often CLEARLY see my finger on the 5 and it picks the 4 or the 6, or worse a letter from the row below.

Tom 13

Re: You have not heard of 'static friction' then ?

Static Friction is static and known, therefore you should be able to adjust for it.

Your point on the aerodynamic surfaces stands. Obvious mitigation there is a shed to block wind, but that doesn't seem practical. This also invalidates most scale solutions including the one I suggested above.

Tom 13

@Richard Plinston

I defer to you on what is done. But I think it ought to be possible to easily get an actual weight on the plane.

Most direct method would seem to be to have the appropriate scale built under the tarmac and the plane has to stop on it after the passengers and cargo are loaded but before takeoff. Police do it all the time for tractor trailers. Might be a difference in magnitude, but it seems like the basic design ought to be similar.

Yes, I'd want the ballpark figure from the calculation you listed as a sanity check against the scale. And yeah I know, yet another huge costs that would make aviation even that much more expensive. So I'm willing to have an actual engineer do the cost-risk analysis.

Tom 13

@Terry 6

I wouldn't want a fully automated system with no human input. I would want an automatic measurement with required human checkoff that it was valid.

As for the sanity check, the pilot said the numbers were within expectations given recent flights. Now, how 35 is close to 51 on temperature I don't get, even under F instead of C.

It's always best to remember that nothing is ever foolproof because fools are so ingenious. The problem here seems to be a plethora of fools on this particular occasion.

Tom 13

@Richard Plinston

Yep, biggest lie I was ever told was the trainer who came in to teach us the "new" Windows 3.11 interface about the time we were migrating from WordPerfect 5.1 to 6.0. Instructor kept talking about how we'd learned a set of skills that we'd be able to use for the rest of our lives. I've lost count of how many times they've changed that skill set since then. And MS changes dev systems even faster than they change the OS interface.

Tom 13

Re: later worked out that it was 365

How very, very odd. We have over 100 iPhones and iPads we support where I work. None of them is ever connected to iTunes to be configured and none of them has ever exhibited the problem you describe.

Tom 13

Re: They don't. These pilot aids do not form any part

This sounds right and certainly is the way it OUGHT to be. Just one small problem. The way the article is written, it's the safety board who are reporting the iPad was used to enter the data into a control system.

Tom 13


I'd say the Apple blurbage is a fair bit more limited than the MS one. MS just flat out says you can't trust us at all.

Not that I really trust either megacorp, just looking at what they claim about themselves.

Tom 13

@Neil Barnes Re: Is there not a load sensor on each wheel support

Not that simple. The weight distribution in the plane is as critical as the total weight. And they might have had an offsetting error elsewhere.

It looks to me like the more significant problem was the bad temperature input. At first I thought it might be a F<-->C issue, but the numbers don't work for that. Automated input with crew signoff looks like the better way to fix that.

Tom 13

Re: who fly by feel

even bush pilots don't fly by the feel any more. Too much has changed in the engineering of planes. So that section deserves a more down votes than El Reg allows one commetard to provide.

Your points about the pilots doing the data entry by hand are valid and deserving of a single upvote.

Conficker is back – and it's infecting police body cams

Tom 13

Re: the company's on-hold music to be relatively pleasant and inoffensive.

Nothing rankles me more than relatively pleasant and inoffensive hold music. There's nothing that's a surer sign there are devil spawn waiting for me on the other end.

Tom 13

Re: Jolly good, welcome to the future

Back in the dark ages before the Internet, I was a tech writer at a company that was attempting to develop a smart house for consumer distribution (they eventually went bust because back then $500K houses were even less common than they are today, and at $15K just for a fully populated control box it probably wasn't making the upgrade list on anything cheaper than that). There are real problems trying to build a system that responds in real-time and remains price point competitive. IIRC our controller was going to use Intel 186 chips and had a specialized tiny os. The folks writing the design specifications manufacturers would be expected to use were writing for 4-bit and 8-bit processers with the expectation that in some instance no more than 4K or RAM would be available. At the time our PCs were running Windows 3.1.11 on I believe DOS 5.0. As the DTP specialist and CAD backup guy I had the pleasure of working on a 386 with maxed out RAM and dual monitor display (one was paper white for CAD). While I expect the names of the common components will have changed, I don't expect the disparity of capabilities between the PC and the embedded components have.

So I have a fair bit of sympathy for the engineers working on the embedded controllers. The people for whom I have no sympathy are snake oil salesman promoting them as the wave of the future.

Tom 13

Re: Your equipment is supplied by the lowest bidder.

The same one #BlackLivesMatters types who want to shoot white cops do, just with inversed parameters.

Tom 13

Re: @ DavCrav

Partisan progtards at the New York Slimes are NOT a citation.

TalkTalk hired BAE Systems' infosec bods before THAT hack

Tom 13

Re: Why?

Because when the male bovine waste hits the oscillating air mover, it's more important that you have a fall guy than that you were taking prudent measures to secure your systems.

Decoding Microsoft: Cloud, Azure and dodging the PC death spiral

Tom 13

Re: what about those people who just work in Office docs?

Does the device have a keyboard, mouse, and reasonable sized display, or the ability to easily connect to same?

If you can get to the point where the answer to that question is yes, then yeah, they can move to a non-pc/laptop device. NO! Those virtual touch screen keyboards don't count.

Yes, I do expect the home market will go away. To the extent that's been fueling the IT industry it will be a problem. But it only moves us back to a 1980s style situation where only serious hobbyists or work from home types will have PCs. It isn't a death spiral the same way the buggy whip market was.

Tom 13

Re: The bean counters won't allow it

Depends on the bean counters. At my location those bean counters have been pushing tablets and making desktops, even for power users, the more difficult item to order. The rationale here is that it's better to issue the tablet and replace it every three years than a desktop and a laptop for travel and home use.

And we are moving to a virtual network as part of a massive network consolidation projects. On the other hand, because it's government, it's going to be a private cloud not one of the commercial ones. Depending on which virtual system you have, they wouldn't object to a phone or tablet for the user. It's just the user will object if the device won't connect to a keyboard, mouse, and larger display.

But the point about actual knowledge workers is correct. It's been amusing watching the hoops they've jumped through to get a laptop to run even a basic version of Autocad. Should be even more amusing when they need to order laptops for the Adobe Creative Suite users.

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