* Posts by John Smith 19

15217 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Britain may not be able to fend off a determined cyber-attack, MPs warn

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Thumb Up

"..immediately taken into account 5 minutes after..Parliament makes cyber-security

unpreparedness of a national infrastructure provider a criminal offence for the CXX suite.

Exactly.

2
0

RIP Bill Godbout: Cali wildfire claims the life of master maverick of microcomputers

John Smith 19
Gold badge

I didn't know it was originally called Godbout Computers

I did recall a story they were planning to change the name ( what I guess was Viasym) and he said something like "The PR people said it sounded blasphemous in focus groups."

He sounded like the built some solid hardware.

2
0

Trump in Spaaaaaaace: Washington DC battles over who gets to decide the rules of trillion-dollar new industry

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

Is it the battle of the bots?

AMFM Vs CT

Not exactly a grudge match?

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Smell like "Sweet" Pai at work, because who wants competition in a "free" market

And surely the correct manga reference should be "Big Baby 1*" than Big Hero 7.

*The one with the small hands

8
1

Amazon tries to ruin infosec world's fastest-growing cottage industry (finding data-spaffing S3 storage buckets)

John Smith 19
Gold badge
FAIL

You call them "policies" I call they default settings.

So WTF was the default setting not always "Private" to begin with?

2
4

We asked the US military for its 'do not buy' list of Russian, Chinese gear. Surprise: It doesn't exist

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Joke

Hmmm

<security> You can't buy this it's insecure. Didn't you check the "Do not buy list"

<procurement> What "do not buy" list?

<security> The one we compile

<procurement> Why weren't we told about this list?

<security> Because it's secret.

23
0

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Thumb Up

Handy if you want to send a description of some technology to another civilisation.

The thing is once you need maximum precision (maybe because you want to build something very big, or very small) it turns out that a lot of physical "constants" (like the length of an Earth day for example) actually aren't.

Very impressive.

6
0

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

John Smith 19
Gold badge
WTF?

"tracks around 25,000..types of "event"..techies are also able to add new events to be recorded."

25 000 types.

F88k me sideways.

Do we need to wonder why networks are running slower than they used to in actual throughput?

13
0

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Joke

The preferred option for playing "Kamikaze Death Race 2" ?

I'm trying to think of some sensible, meditative comment on Teslas development of "intelligent" driver aids.

But I can't.

Although "Software shuts down while car is in motion" sounds pretty worrying given how deeply embedded software is to the cars function.

2
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
WTF?

"as long as the constraints are known up front."

Well, let's see.

"Drive on a road, any road, without killing other road users or the people in the car"?

That sounds pretty simple, does it not?

Now try and implement it.

3
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

"There's no way I can justify being a tiny little unprotected, invisible thing sharing a road

with 18-ton lorries, "

I knew someone like this.

She said it woke her up coming into work in the morning.*

*She was also a mountain climber. She didn't like hobbies you couldn't get killed doing.

4
1

Another Meltdown, Spectre security scare: Data-leaking holes riddle Intel, AMD, Arm chips

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Basically the mfg *promised" both speed and security, but couldn't deliver them

So they delivered the speed (which users can measure easily) and hoped no one could figure out

a) They'd relaxed the boundaries between running processes and

b) No one could find a way to exploit the relaxed separation.

IOW the illusion of security without actual security.

I wonder how many process crashes over the years could also be traced to miswritten code influencing another process and crashing that instead? No way to know I guess.

11
1

Six critical systems, four months to Brexit – and no completed testing

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

A No-Plan Brexit is what The People voted for.

The shortest, most distinct description of what Brexiteers actually offered and what "The People*" voted for

IOW the perfect political "product," as any different group of supporters could read exactly what they wanted into the "proposal"

Bu***hit detection. It's quite a valuable skill.

* 13/25s of the 72.21% of the potential electorate. The rest either believing they had no chance of winning or the benefits of EU membership were self evident. Either felt actually voting would therefor be a waste of their time. Both groups were wrong.

2
1
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"a "pragmatic" approach by prioritising the most essential work and opting for basic functionality"

Note the fact they felt it important to mention this.

When it should be SOP for any development effort where there is a fixed time limit that has to be met and resources are limited (as IRL they always are).

What you might call a "Management design pattern."

F**k me sideways. Someone had to actually congratulate them for doing something properly. :-(

2
0

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Easier when such items were passive things that needed the intelligence in a reader

IE a DVD or badge with an optical code.

As Edward Snowden should have taught everyone you can pack a lot of hardware in a USB stick.

Should be just some storage.

Could be.......

2
0

FPGAs? Sure, them too. Liqid pours chips over composable computing systems

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

Could I have that in English to go?

As I've no clear idea what that means.

0
0

It's November 2018, and Microsoft's super-secure Edge browser can be pwned eight different ways by a web page

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Never mind the flaw, look at the *pattern*.

Are these patterns of code never, ever, seen before in the 70 year history of software development?

Are they f**k.

And yet near the end of the 2nd decade of the 21st century we still make them.

Here's a legal question.

If you released a de-compiled version of a corporations software, that let anyone look for bugs in it, would it be illegal. Not "Violating the EULA, " which I understand is basically BS, but actually illegal?

10
1

Another 3D printer? Oh, stop it, you're killing us. Perhaps literally: Fears over ultrafine dust

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"common-sense can go a long way. 3D printers are cool, but don’t breathe the fumes..."

Indeed.

The classic "Use in a well ventilated area" is put on stuff for a reason.

People should be aware it's the size of particles from some Diesel exhausts that makes them dangerous, just as Asbestos is. In big lumps, not so much.

Likewise a big lump of plastic may only be a hazard if it falls on you. But in particles you could snort up without realizing it?

11
0

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"from that encrypted almanac as you say. "

"Encrypted" is putting it a bit highly.

The GPS standard dates from a time when processing was very expensive. Consequently it incorporates lots of tricks designed to simplify the processing task on the end users processor (this is at a time when the Z80 was considered pretty impressive, if you couldn't get an 8088, and the 68000 was still on the horizon).

This results in lots of "funny" units for different parameters, like fractions of the Earths diameter, or the eccentricity of the Earth as an oblate spheroid. The */ operators in Forth are a similar device.

Fast forward 40 years and few people have any idea how to use this stuff.

As to where the multi path problems that's where phased array techniques with multiple antennas come in handy. On Sounding rockets and ELV's they have also been used for attitude sensing.

Now, where is/are the key(s) to allow you to lock to the Military grade code? I'd guess anywhere marked in the standard "reserved," or possibly not.

2
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

It'll still be a damm sight cheaper than the UK launching it's own Nav Sat constellation.

Which is good.

Yes it needs to shrink several orders of magnitude.

Yes it needs to operate in 3 dimensions.

But it'll still be a damm sight cheaper than the UK launching it's own GPS system, which is basically post Brexit willy waving.

8
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"AIUI the military signal has a faster chipping rate with longer PRN "

Correct.

IIRC the Civvy chipping rate is 1024 and repeats about 1024 times a second (easy to lock) and the mil spec is a whole different beast, which is sent at 10x the bandwidth and cycles over a time of something like a week

Military cycle lock is achieved by clues hidden in the "Almanac" that is downloaded at 50bps, probably (but necessarily) in the stuff that's repeated on every 300bit long "page."

During a series of articles on a Transputer based GPS system the author said the trick is to design a "Synthetic" common chipping code from each of the ones used on the GPS sats so when you run it against the incoming data it pull all the visible GPS sat signals at once. They were very vague on wheather this should be a sum, an And, an average or what this code should be.

Should make an interesting study for someone, given processors with 10MIPS are very much more common than in the late 80's.

8
0

How one programmer's efforts to stop checking in buggy code changed the DevOps world

John Smith 19
Gold badge

"4 decades on people rediscover the work of Glenform Myers."

That should of course be Glenford Myers

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

" he is most interested..the vast data sets generated by..successes and failures of

past executions to work out which subset of the test suite to run first."

Oh really.

Developing minimum test cases for maximum fault coverage.

Wow.

4 decades on people rediscover the work of Glenform Myers.

How exciting.

1
2

Former Intel love rat Krzanich finds his calling, lands at biz that sells tech to car dealers

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"They need someone who can dump the old x86 design, "

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Not going to happen.

You are correct. Amdahl's law has not been repealed.

The ICL1900 series had a small register set, each with specific tasks, which were "shadowed" or cached. AIUI higher performance models had deeper caches. Because of the specific tasks for each register this gave a very high hit rate. It's a strategy Intel could consider, but it'll probably be tough implement.

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

The car dealership SW biz is a few players, tightly locked in customers

who have to put up with the SW the mfg require them to use, regardless of how buggy it is.

IOW it's a perfect fit for the former Intel CEO.

Competition.

They've heard of it.

6
0

ICO poised to fine Leave campaign and Arron Banks’ insurance biz £135,000

John Smith 19
Gold badge
WTF?

"supporting Remain,.. Lynton Crosby"

I don't think so.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"Whereas the remainers don't even notice that they're getting fucked by the EU."

That's what you get for learning your "facts" from the Daily Heil.

IRL it's the rest of the EU who think they've been getting f**ked by the British deals (on opt outs and rebate) since Margaret Thatcher.

Thatcher was no fan of the EU but she did seem to care about the UK and understood its real position in the UK, unlike the delusional f**kwits of the current Conservative back bench, who either don't or anticipate making a great deal of money in the chaos Brexit is causing.

7
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

Just look at it and think "Riibbip, ribbip"

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Will of the people my arse

Au Contraire, very much the will of the people.

If by "The people" you mean the will of Vlad Putin and Lynton Crosby.

If you wonder why Russia would bankroll such nonsense it's simple.

Divide and rule.

The EU is weaker without the UK and vice versa, making both easier targets for Putin and his cronies to lean on. Putin, Trump and Rupert Murdoch all supported Leave. People should have asked "Why?"

40
9

'Blockchain SAVED my Quango'

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

" Is copyright an area where blockchain actually could be useful?"

Possibly,

Which suggests Google and Facebook will hate it.

And I rather like that.

3
5

Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

..which is exactly how a human child learns,

I'm not sure we even know this.

For a start children have multiple input channels. We don't say "you" we point at them and say "you."

Likewise we know how primitive the brains hardware is, yet we don't think in those terms. "I'm learning algebra, I must reinforce the link weights of the cluster about 3cm in from my left ear."

We think in much higher, abstract forms.

So, somewhere between a lot of neurons with up to a 10 000 to one fan in (human brain) and "I am a person" is an intermediate level. Because artificial NN's make pretty good classifiers and filters they don't have to evolve beyond how they were designed, so why would their designers include a mechanism to evolve their internal representation?

IOW unless someone actually designs it in ANN's won't suddenly develop intelligence because there are no evolutionary pressures to do so (the architecture does the job well enough already) and no evolutionary mechanisms within the architecture to restructure it even if there were. I'm not talking weightings. I mean actual structure.

Where is the the virtual machine hiding in the neural network?

5
1
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

I'll go Igor Alexander at London U WISARD and Carver Mead "Analog VLSI & Neural Systems"

WISARD did facial recognition at 30fps using lots of small digital neural nets (excellent hardware, not very good business plan).

Carver Mead's CalTech group used CMOS transistors in analogue modes (Voltage controlled current switches IIRC) to give the massive dynamic range that human hearing and eyesight have. "The Silicon Eye" and "Nano" describe his group, and some of the events that may have ended it.

Sadly just old books on Amazon now.

BTW I'm not surprised the FPGA stopped working at a different temperature. Analogue systems are quite sensitive to "drift," usually ageing but also temperature effects.

4
0

Solid state of fear: Euro boffins bust open SSD, Bitlocker encryption (it's really, really dumb)

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

So yet another case of "Security by obscurity"

PHB "Test port. Who knows what a test port is? Let alone where to find one. It'll be fine."

PHB "It'll save a ton of money and months on time to market. No one will notice."

Until some one does.

And if your marketing this to people with serious security issues you should assume that they have serious enemies who will go to nearly any lengths to get their data.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
FAIL

The illusion of security.

Without actual security.

Something people who buy disks should keep in mind.

6
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

"Because MS was just blindly trusting them all, they have to take some of the blame."

True.

Along with any other supplier of so-called "Encryption" software.

Other takeaway.

Implementing a complex standard is hard --> expensive.

10
0

Sensor failure led to Soyuz launch failure, says Roscosmos

John Smith 19
Gold badge

"The LVDC was capable of executing 12190 instructions per second."

People often over estimate how much performance is needed to run LV's and their engines in steady state, with limited monitoring

OTOH if you're doing turbine monitoring using FFT's of the vibration spectrum of the drive turbines to decide if you need to shut down rather than get away with a throttle down (developed, but not AFAIK flown, for the Shuttle) and do fault diagnosis on the sensors (to decide if you can trust their readings) you need something with a bit more "oomph" (In Shuttles a whole separate processor board in the box).

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge

"Iirc, Apollo era fault detection, and probably Soyuz too, consists of a long piece of wire"

Hilarious.

Actually it was a bit more complex, as described here

The trick is to not identify fault patterns, then install sensors to find them (which need wiring and processing, and might themselves be faulty), but find the signatures they cause

Mostly viciously aggressive acceleration. The cause don't matter, just the results.

Apollo also put the 'nauts in the loop to track slower developing possible problems (which might get bad enough to go to a full abort, but might just as easily decay back to nothing).

It would seem a large part of the EDS was in fact hard wired, using diodes and (gasp) relay logic.

Note that the basic trajectory to orbit (and how fast it's traversed) hasn't actually changed in the 5 decades since Apollo.

1
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge

"can the fault detection system work fast enough. "

Well give it was mostly hard wired but IIRC there was a very slot processor in the loop (sub 1 MHz) I'd guess a 200MHz ARM would be substantially faster, or a discrete ECL SSI logic chip design at 1GHz (it'll guzzle electricity during the minutes of launch with the escape system is usable, then shut down).

2
2

30 spies dead after Iran cracked CIA comms network with, er, Google search – new claim

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

""It was never meant to be used long term for people to talk to sources," "

And yet it was.

"temporary" infrastructure used long after it should have been replaced. No PHB has ever done that before.

BTW the STUXNET malware was first discovered in 2010.

According to Wikipedia it was though to have been in development (and deployment?) from 2005.

So yes if the Iranians started noticing stuff earlier they would have been quite angry.

It seems actions have consequences, even in malware. Who knew?

7
0

Worldwide Web wizard Tim Berners-Lee sticks wellington boot into Worldwide Web's giants: Time to break 'em up?

John Smith 19
Gold badge

It was thought computers and computer networks would empower human kind

Instead they have just empowered some companies to make a great deal of money while raising barriers to entry so high it's effectively impossible to compete with them.

And make no mistake raising those barriers (of whatever kind) is absolutely part of their business model.

And has been so since at least the time Micrsoft and the "If you sell a PC that can run DOS, we get a cut, even if it doesn't have a copy loaded" contract clause AKA "The Microsoft tax."

11
0

Need electric propulsion for your satellite? Want a 'made in Britain' sticker? Step right this way...

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Actually British industry has been knocking out ion thrusters since the late 60's

Most of them for low thrust or test missions.

So quite a long time.

2
0

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Happy

There's a place in Ayrshire called "Dufus"

Still puts a smile on my face.

Growing up there, not so much.

1
1

This one weird trick turns your Google Home Hub into a doorstop

John Smith 19
Gold badge
FAIL

No one knows it'sthere --> no one can exploit it.

Yup, security by obscurity strikes again.

And again.

And again.

14
1

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Thumb Up

"A brief history of ethernet"

Masterful.

1
0

Ex spy bosses: Cyber-warfare needs rules of engagement for nations to promptly ignore

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

when in doubt look for the PPE graduate.

Internet standards should stop treating anyone as friendly.

Everyone is a potential MITM attack.

2
0

Have you ever, ever felt like this? Have strange things happened? Is high-speed data going round the twist?

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

A (potentially) astonishing step change in FO bandwidth.

Which Big Cable companies will take decades to roll out and throttle till you can almost hear the death rattle.

10
1

UK.gov should spend more on AI, bleat VCs and consultants. Oh? Why's that then?

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

TL;DR versions.

It's a lot of BS bingo.

2200 pages of utter s**t.

Statistical pattern recognition <> artificial intelligence.

IMHO the missing link is somewhere between what we know the brains hardware is (very low level) and the thoughts people think with it.

I spy a virtual machine

4
0

RIP Charles Wang: Computer Associates cofounder dies aged 74

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

On the upside

Some cancer charity gets a nice piece of change?

Just saying.

0
0
John Smith 19
Gold badge
Coat

They used to joke the Sales team dress code was "Sharkskin Grey"

To match fin on their backs.

8
1

Brit smart meter biz blamed Apple's iPhone 7 launch for its late taxes

John Smith 19
Gold badge
Unhappy

Your utiliy displays in the hands of these fine people.

You've been warned.

1
3

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018