* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

899 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Page:

Users shop cold-calling telco to ICO: 'She said she was from Openreach'

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Facebook fined €1.2m by Spain for… you'll never guess what

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Joke

Unacceptable language

> Belgium Privacy Commission

There's no need to diss the Privacy Commission to that extent.

0
0

Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Stop

The fallacy of acronyms

> Nazi = National Socialist Workers' Party

Yeah, also DPRK == Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

I rest my case.

6
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: IT angle

So was that a mini or a mainframe? If it wasn't a personal computer, it must have been one or the other.
I'll assume that's not willful misunderstanding. In the context of computing history, 'personal computer' and 'PC' don't mean the same thing. IBM made the first "PC", in 1981, though there had been 'personal computers' for years before that. Because the BIOS interface was easily reverse-engineered and cloned, many companies then built machines billed as "PC-compatible". Now the distinction is blurred, but deserves to be sharpened, otherwise we get discussions like this, at cross-purposes.

5
1
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: BYTE

> No, Dr Dobbs. Ask STOB

To illuminate a little more, here's that magazine title in full:

Dr Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia

Running light without overbyte

---

Sad to know that Jerry Pournelle is no more; he leaves a lasting legacy.

1
0

China: Cute Hyperloop Elon, now watch how it's really done

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: Pressure suits?

TFA:

> long-distance cargo and passenger routes at its top speed [of 4000 kph]

DougS:

> let's ... accelerate at 1 g.

OK. To reach 4x103 km s-1 accelerating at 9.8 m s-2 will take 113 seconds. That's nearly two minutes of unpleasantly high acceleration. (Civil airliners only have a thrust ratio high enough for about 0.3g).

Given that s = u.t + 1/2 . a . t2, I think distance travelled until full speed is reached is about 62.9 km. Thirty-nine miles of the toughest takeoff you ever had unless you've flown a jet off an aircraft carrier.

And another thing! At 4000 kph, a 70 ton train will have 8.64 x 1010 J of kinetic energy. Supplying that in 113 seconds will consume 763 MW, a significant chunk of the output of China's largest nuclear reactor. Those are going to be mighty big power cables, and the brakes are going to be pretty hot when the train pulls into the station. I'm all mathed out, and can't be bothered to work out whether 86 GJ is enough to melt a 70 ton train.

9
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Who wants it?

> a very large capital investment and so would be worth while only on routes between very large population centres.

I give you the last supersonic transport system between large population centres on this planet, viz. Concorde. It didn't sustain itself, and give rise to successor systems, because not enough people (need | want) & can afford to travel that far that quickly.

Also the physics is a bit dicey. If you're accelerating a train at 0.5g, as others have suggested you need to do to reach 4000 kph before you reach halfway to your destination, then the track experiences the reaction, and can't be built on piddly little concrete pylons. Similarly when changing direction: fast aircraft use a "half-rate" turn of 1.5 deg per second. For a 4000 kph train changing direction from N to NE, say, the turn will take 30s, and to limit the sideways acceleration to 0.5g, the radius of the turn is near enough 28.6 km (17.7 miles). Around the curve [1], that's about 28 miles of track that has to be braced to support a force equivalent to 122% of the weight of the train. See 'piddly pylons', supra.

I don't say that it can't be done. I just don't expect the engineering investment to be justified by the economics of the business case.

[1] I've simplified. In reality, you have to turn gradually into the curve, and gradually out again, along an 'Euler spiral'

12
0

For once, Uber takes it up the tailpipe: Robo-ride gets rear-ended

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: The big question

I think this is quite simple. No autonomous driving system should be allowed on the road unless it can reliably pass the real-world driving test that every human driver has to pass [1]. Since updates essentially change the autonomous driver into something else, it must be retested every time an update is issued. Demonstrating that the robot can negotiate a test track just doesn't cut it. It has to cope with normal human (i.e. unpredictable and risky) behaviour from road users of all types, and in the fullness of time with the latest behaviour [2] from robots of many sorts. My prediction is that we're still a long way off seeing these systems on public roads, especially non-urban UK ones.

[1] Such a shame that the UK driving test no longer includes hand-signals.

[2] OT: why do I get the wavy red underline of disapproval for my spelling of behaviour?

1
0

US watchdog alert: Don't fall victim to crapto crypto-coin cons, people

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Processing Power

> Iceland to keep it cool.

More likely Iceland for the cheap electricity. That's also the reason that much US alumin(i)um production has migrated to Iceland, at the same time as server farms in the US have pushed up the price of power.

4
0

Living in space basically shoves a warp drive into your blood stream

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Prevention is better than cure.

@Colin Ritchie

I think that we'd have to check that assumption before investing (hugely, as others have pointed out) in gravity-substitutes. Maybe it's the zero-g, maybe it's the radiation sleeting through the body, or circadian rhythm disruption, or angst about being separated from the rest of humanity ...

A decent test would be to set up a hostile radiation environment on the ground at 1 g, and keep the subjects in it for six months, with regular blood tests.

Volunteers, one pace forward!

3
0

Boffins bust AI with corrupted training data

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Unintelligent artificial intelligence

Sarcasm of that sort, sir/madam, will get you nowhere many upvotes.

2
0

New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Shedload of cheap Lumia phones

@Herby

Not sure why all the downvotes...

I guess that 're-purposing' is ruled out on security grounds. NYPD can't invest in one-by-one updates to Windows 10, and by the same token can't engage in one-by-one sanitation of the devices so that they can be sold outside the department.

1
0

'Driverless' lorry platoons will soon be on a motorway near you

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Odegra

You must be new around here.

https://www.ixquick.com/do/search?q=Odegra&l=english_uk

1
0

Did ROPEMAKER just unravel email security? Nah, it's likely a feature

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Stop

Re: Why Do People Expose Themselves With HTML E-Mail

The irony here is that your markup thus:

*was*

is rendered in bold in my Thunderbird email client. Plus it will linkify a URL. This is just about the limit of anything one could want in marked-up email. CSS is *way* over the top.

Old-school? Possibly. Immune to smart-arses with nefarious style sheets? Certainly.

16
0

US Navy suffers third ship collision this year

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

HMS Queen Elizabeth...

...still belongs to her builders at the moment: she's a commercial vessel. Dunno what happens when she's handed over and put into commission.

2
0

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
WTF?

'...they sent me a copy in Word...'

Yay! Wiki-agreements: the contracts any party can edit!

0
0

Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: When FTTP gets widely deployed

> File Transfer Transferring Protocol? First To The Post? Er...

Fibre To The Penis. cf Teledildonics.

5
0

Ex-NASA bod on Gwyneth Paltrow site's 'healing' stickers: 'Wow. What a load of BS'

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Boffin

OT Re: You missed out the French...

"...a largely empty Brittany was repopulated..."

I think you might have got the ebb and flow of Celtic ethnic groups, driven by the forces of Romans, Goths, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, and others, a bit the wrong way up. Welsh, Cornish and Bretons were just a sub-set of the Celts pushed into the far western parts of their respective lands. Similarly, the other main linguistic group was pushed into (or maintained their identity within) the far north. The Romans withdrew their legions, right, but they didn't up sticks and forcibly de-populate swathes of the landscape.

1
0

Police anti-ransomware warning is hotlinked to 'ransomware.pdf'

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: We chose not to open the PDF file

What is this keming of which you speak?

2
0

Bloke charged under UK terror law for refusing to cough up passwords

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Location, Location, Location

> when she got her laptop back after a search at LAX

If your device has been out of your sight in the hands of Security Services, and especially if you unlocked it for them first, then you should never trust it again. Back-to-the-wood re-formatting of storage, and reflashing the BIOS might work...

14
0

WannaCrypt 'may be the work of North Korea' theory floated

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

More nonsense

> If you['re] reduced to using the timezone as "evidence"...

In the same vein, I noticed that the killswitch domain name is significantly non-random, and probably chosen by keyboard mashing. Here's how a classic touch typist on a QWERTY keyboard would achieve those characters [1]:

KILLSWITCH DN: IUQERFSODP9IFJAPOSDFJHGOSURIJFAEWRWERGWEA

TYPING HAND: RRLLLLLRLRRRLRLRRLLLRRLRLRLRRLLLLLLLLLLLL

QWERTY ROW: 11111221210122211222222121112221111112112

Note that only the top two rows of letters are used, and only once does it stray into digits; the nine is probably a near-miss for the subsequent I. It seems to me that the mashing was almost certainly done on a QWERTY keyboard. However, APTs will probably be using such keyboards anyway; all the information I can find about N. Korean PCs indicates that their layout is QWERTY, too.

Hey, I *like* it here at the bottom of the barrel!

[1] transposed to uppercase for clarity; paste somewhere in a monospaced font to make it line up.

1
0

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Mission critical systems

When Microsoft published EULA documents that were (a) accessible and (b) halfway comprehensible, I recall that they used to warn against deploying WindowsTM in mission critical applications. I just tried to find out whether that's still the case, and I can find any deity's amount of information on what I might need to pay in any given circumstance, but no information on what my rights and responsibilities are for licensed MS software.

1
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: You are missing the point [and how!]

Crap! Here we are going around with nerves on edge, worrying about spearfishing wannacrypt vectors, and an AC posts a text url for an anonymous JPG file, with a hashtag indicating 'cyberattack'. Hands up who thought "Oo, that looks interesting, I'll just paste that into the address bar right here..."

5
0

Google DeepMind's use of 1.6m Brits' medical records to test app was 'legally inappropriate'

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: There's a more interesting ethical question than just "the rules"

> having trained the model they realised they had identified people who needed kidney treatment

If DeepMind works like other neural network AIs, one trains the system by presenting it with known outcome data, so e.g. by feeding different representations of the letter "A" you can train a text-recognition algorithm to return a diagnosis of "A", even from a representation that it hasn't "seen" before. In this instance, one would have fed it millions of pieces of medical information for previous patients with, and without, kidney disease as diagnosed and confirmed by a trained human, and ended up with a diagnostic app. What would then be unethical, given the approvals that were given in the first place, would be to let the app loose on new patients.

One point six million is a lot of records. I'm supposing that these came from all over the National Health Service, not just from the Royal Free's patient list?

1
1

America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Another impact on airlines

I recently came across a new[1] phenomenon: in-flight entertainment without a seat-back screen or common-viewing screens overhead. The concept was that passengers would place an inflight entertainment app onto their personal devices, and consume the stuff that way. I suppose I *could* watch a two-hour movie on a tiny phone screen, but it would be stretching the definition to call it "entertainment".

Airlines relying on people having tablets etc. about their persons will be in a quandary.

[1] New to me, anyway.

5
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Promoting US Cloud services

> people wont take a business laptop with them or at least not one with anything important on it

Good business information assurance policies would make sure that the laptop was encrypted. This would protect against the risk of unauthorised disclosure should the device be stolen, and make it much harder for state-sponsored industrial espionage should the device be imaged by security authorities. Plausibly-deniable encrypted partitions are a thing, if your situation demands it. You could put encrypted material into cloud storage, of course, but you'd have to be confident about the strength of your encryption.

1
0

Mozilla to Thunderbird: You can stay here and we may give you cash, but as a couple, it's over

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Go

Re: I use Thunderbird and I want to support it

> where do I send the money ...?

See the first comment (by the author) on the announcement of the split [mozilla.org]. The short answer to the question is to head for https://donate.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/, which is a Stripe or Paypal payments page.

1
0

UK prof claims to have first practical blueprint of a quantum computer

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Bloody idiots...

You don't want to set the first working quantum computer (Solves billion-year problems in days! Sale must end soon!) onto factoring big semi-primes. You want to set it on designing the second working quantum computer. Assuming, of course, that it won't quickly deduce the existence of rice pudding and income tax, take the next step of working out that its real problem is not making itself redundant, and then proceed to sit in a corner, pondering the life prospects of some German cat.

0
0

Prepare your popcorn: Wikipedia deems the Daily Mail unreliable

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Hmm

> we are definitely not to blame for almost all of that[citation needed]

Humans have been clearing forests and hugely altering ecosystems since at least soon after the last ice retreat; I say no more than that I think your "definitely" is possibly misplaced.

1
1

Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Language?

Nations plural. Northern Ireland is one of the nations making up the United Kingdom; the Republic of Ireland is a different nation. This is at the very nub of much bloody and explosive conflict!

> Maybe you're including the US.

Boston, MA, may or may not qualify as a third Irish quasi-nation. Many of its inhabitants were enthusiastic supporters of terrorism a few decades ago.

0
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Language?

> ... DHS, at every border crossing and airport ...

I think you misunderstand - certain travellers to The Land of the Free will, under Gen. Kelly's plans, have to cough up their passwords before travelling, e.g. when applying for a visa, or an ESTA.

Others have pointed out that disclosing passwords is uniformly a breach of Terms and Conditions, and presumably it will harm your application for the visa if you change the password during the period when DHS is getting around to logging in with the extorted credentials and having a rummage. At a stroke, Gen. Kelly sacrifices the security of *all* his target travellers, for the sake of an outside chance of identifying the tiny fraction of them that might be undesirable.

However, it is clear how the current administration views travellers from certain (coincidentally Muslim) countries. They're all undesirable. If the criteria really did have to do with countries with a history of terrorism, then the Irish nations would be on the list too, wouldn't they?

8
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: So will I be barred ?

Someone possibly masquerading as an Andy Tunnah wrote:

> I *do* have a facebook ...

This use case for Facebook (TM) seems a bit eccentric, akin to using a hammer to drive a screw. If one wanted a method for closed-group communications between friends, e-mail would seem to answer better than putting one's more-or-less sweary opinions on Mr Zuckerberg's servers. It may be that the posts are non-public, but if they were of apparent interest to The Security Services, they'd be able to de-anonymize you in a heartbeat.

3
0

Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Gate guardian at LHR

> replaced it with some modern tat.

Some Emirates-branded tat, too. "Britain is open for business sale".

1
0

Ex-NSA contractor Harold Martin indicted: He spent 'up to 20 years stealing top-secret files'

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: NSA security - Level Zero?

Aye, and beginning in 1996, too. There were few CD-R drives, memory sticks or unobtrusive portable mass storage boxes, back then. Floppy disks carried no more than 1.38 MiB, which I suppose is big enough for a few documents, but Top Secret networks typically didn't have floppy disk drives. The earliest stuff was probably carried out through a security checkpoint in good old paper files.

[1] Certainly no office-based ones in NSA establishments, I expect. See Wikipedia entry

2
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: It's traitors like these...

> orange fruitcake

Oo! I wonder if that can be on the afternoon tea menu at Buckingham Palace when the President makes his State Visit to Her Majesty's United Kingdom (supposing that he accepts the invitation, of course).

I'm off to research a recipe.

2
0

Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
WTF?

Mathematical inexactitude

> rises around the mid-single digit mark

That's so elliptical as to be a waste of oxygen to enunciate. If you were to conclude that Premier Foods might add somewhere between four and six pounds sterling to the price of everything, it wouldn't be contradictory.

1
0

Like stealing data from a kid: LA school pays web scum US$28,000 ransom

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Live and learn, the hard way

V1.0 said "This is a school system - probably with a system administrator who is getting paid a pittance"

From TFA: ... the campus' 1,800 staff and 20,000 students

That's twice the size of the university I went to (admittedly a long time ago!) so there will be more than one sysadmin.

In fact, the LA Community College District named in the article comprises NINE colleges with a total enrollment in Fall 2015 of over 130,000 students [1]. The ransomware attack was at Los Angeles Valley College [2].

[1] LACCD Fast Facts

[2] LACCD Chancellor’s Statement [PDF]

0
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Stop

Re: Live and learn, the hard way

> the unpalatable one becomes more desirable from the perspective of continuation of normal business activities

But paying ransom to cyber-criminals isn't a normal business activity, is it? I agree in principle with your cost-benefit analysis, but you ought to factor in (a) the extra cost of iron-clad protection against another attack, since paying up identifies you as an easy mark, (b) the time and risk involved in undertaking decryption (you'll be running software from a known bad supplier with no performance guarantees), and finally (c) the risk that the scum-bag that you pay may not give you the decryption keys anyway. Good luck requesting a refund.

0
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Live and learn, the hard way

@Paul Crawford

+1 Informative, thank you

0
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: Live and learn, the hard way

> triggering when enough time has elapsed for offline data to be encrypted along with the online version

How would that work? I would expect the attack to be immediately obvious to an enterprise of this size, and the very first thing one would do is to isolate the backups and shut down the network, probably invoking the business continuity/disaster recovery plan at the same time. In the past, when we used to do backups to half-ton tape drives, the backups were 'grand-fathered'. I don't know how modern backup technologies work in this respect.

1
0

For Fark's sake! Fark fury follows 5-week ad ban for 5-year-old story

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

New Year's resolution @voland's left eye

... to read the whole article before posting!?

Yes, of course Googletm is too powerful. We've often observed that folk who just use the WWW without much thought about how it all works believe that Google is the Internet.

7
0

You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Enables, but does not oblige

> If the court feels the circumstances are appropriate that provision enables them to dump the defendant's costs on the plaintiff.

Aye, there's the rub. Frivolous plaintiffs could end up with a shock. To make that happen you as defendant have got to engage a lawyer good enough to convince the judge that all the circumstances mean he or she can overturn the statutory award of damages. It's three levels down in the error-trapping code, and certainly not as good a protection as "Truth === no award of costs".

4
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

At the mercy of the court

+1

> Even if El Reg was 100% correct in what they write, they still get lumbered with the bill.

There's a bit of nuance to this, as other people have mentioned in these comments.

Section 40

(3) If the defendant was not a member of an approved regulator ... the court must award costs against the defendant unless satisfied that—

...

(b) it is just and equitable in all the circumstances of the case to make a different award of costs or make no award of costs. [omissions for clarity]

That's quite a high bar to cross, though; to convince the judge, in the face of inevitable opposition from the plaintiff's lawyers, to vary the statutory award because it's "just and equitable in all the circumstances" [emphasis added].

This is where the law isn't like a program. There's very little IF ... THEN ... ELIF ... ENDIF.

8
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: Question

Hmm. The Guardian counts as major dead wood publication, I think, and they covered PRP recognition of Impress in October: Max Mosley-funded press regulator recognised as state-backed watchdog.

1
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: "The part that says that a publisher has to pay all costs, even if they win in"

> does not come in to force until a Regulator is set up

... which happened back in October when Impress was recognised by the Press Recognition Panel.

3
0
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Re: I want to sign but...

Attempted explanation of the dilemma faced by El Reg, though IANAL either:

Key point: there is currently no choice of "approved regulator". Only Impress has received approval, and for the reasons Gareth explains, submitting to regulation by (and paying subscription fees to) Impress is unpalatable. IPSO is the industry's response to the widespread call for a regulator to curb excesses of The Press (phone 'hacking', making stuff up, etc.) following the Leveson report, but it's not approved so membership doesn't give a publisher the protection from the Section 40 jeopardy.

Corrections/amplifications welcome.

References:

Impress recognition [guardian.com]

Impress site [impress.press]

12
1

FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: Not proven

> I would like to keep the world's paedos in doors wanking to pictures ...

Would you like to volunteer your own children to take part in the photoshoot for those pictures, perhaps?

0
8
Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge
Stop

Re: 'We...

> Do the images protect our kids after all?

One thing is certain. Unless the images are cartoon/CGI then one or more real children have been abused and exploited to make it. Stamping out the incentive to create images like that will protect children other than mine, and that's a fine objective, right there.

8
5

Dotdot. Who's there? Yet another IoT app layer

Jonathan Richards 1
Bronze badge

Domain naming opportunity

I suppose there's no chance that someone will decide to document the rush to implement this (ha!) at dotdotdash dot com, morse the pity.

That still reads better than 'colonpipepipe', though, which has unpleasant overtones of, um, irrigation...

3
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017