* Posts by Peter2

1482 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Russia: The hole in the ISS Soyuz lifeboat – was it the crew wot dunnit?

Peter2
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On earth, you can use a power drill because your mass is pushed down by a large gravitational field which allows one to maintain their position with minimal effort.

In orbit in microgravity, were you to try and tighten or loosen a bolt with a power drill then the effective mass of the person holding the drill is near zero. What's more likely to rotate when you apply the drill, the bolt or the astronaut?

Some imagination suggests some interesting possibilities. If they do have a tool designed for that sort of purpose then i'd expect that it's going to be designed to be suction clamped to the surface to preclude it rotating the astronaut, but that itself would preclude the damage shown in the previous picture...

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Peter2
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It's probably even easier than that. What's the chance that there is actually a powerdrill on the ISS?

One suspects that it's one of those items that they might not take with them given the size & weight can be better used for other things that they might be able to use.

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Gartner: Governments want to be digital, but just can't scale it up

Peter2
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Re: Hope springs eternal, nothing else does

The deeply traditional hatred between the Army, Navy and Air Force is very deliberately maintained as it is.

The basic idea is that if any one service decided to stage a coup then you could reasonably expect the other two services to be willing to put it down, with using lethal force if required. This requires a certain level of slightly beyond healthy rivalry between the services. One of the side effects of this is that they are going to generate substantially more opposition to adopting a crap system foisted on them to replace a perfectly working system than many other organisations would do.

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Sextortion scum armed with leaked credentials are persistent pests

Peter2
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Re: They're using webmail accounts

Except that one can buy a (new) pay as you go mobile for all of £10 with a SIM from most supermarkets, and you don't get asked for ID when doing so. A mobile number is not exactly a high bar to preventing access, although it does provide some possibility of getting caught due to CCTV in the store, and the mobile network knowing which base station it's connected to.

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Peter2
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Re: The common denominator...

Another question: those that have never had a gmail address: Have you had this type of spam in your Inbox (the variety containing text in it, as opposed to the ones without)? If "yes" then that blows a hole in my theory.

I have owned my own domain since before gmail was even released as a closed beta.

I have never received a sextortion scam, although I have also never had a webcam that didn't have a physical power switch which has only been turned on when I want to use it. This sharply reduces the chances of anybody ever having any compromising photos of me using a webcam so I wouldn't have paid much attention in any case.

I'm also male, and one assumes that script kiddies are still predominately male and so targeting woman.

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Oracle tells students: You're not going to solve the world's problems – but AI and ML might

Peter2
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But artificial Intelligence does just give the appearance of being intelligent.

The current state of the art AI is still no more "intelligent" than a complicated excel macro in that it performs specifically programmed tasks. There is a huge disconnect between the rhetoric from the sales types and the technical progress in development of AI's.

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Volkswagen faces fresh Dieselgate lawsuit in Germany – report

Peter2
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How any man can walk past a Plus 8 or Roadster and not want one is beyond comprehension. I may never buy one, but I'll always want one.

Due to seeing a vehicle as a method of getting from A to B rather than an object of desire in it's own right?

Personally I drive around a 19 year old car that was cheap to buy, is cheap to run and is reasonably comfortable when driving it around. Given that my yearly maintenance bill is below the monthly rental costs of a new hire purchase deal I have no particular desire to replace my vehicle while it's still working, especially not with something expensive.

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Windows Server 2019 Essentials incoming – but cheapo product's days are numbered

Peter2
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Re: Print server?

Mono laser printers of old can be quite fast, high resolution, and very cheap to run.

I'd say that are (broadly) two types of machines. Cheap to buy and expensive to run like inkjets and expensive to buy and cheap to run machines like large network grade laser printers.

If you pick up a formerly expensive printer from ebay then you bypass the high acquisition cost but still benefit from the low running costs. Typical home users that print maybe a hundred sheets a month will literally take a decade to get through the cartridge on a network grade laser printer and a century or so before hitting the service interval.

After suffering a bit with what I inherited I ended up buying our home users second hand network printers from ebay of the same model that we use in the office. Complete and total overkill, but you don't run into problems with them to the point of forgetting their existence.

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UK.gov's no-deal plans leave HMRC customs, VAT systems scrambling to keep up

Peter2
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Re: A total waste of effort to support a transparent bluff

It sort of depends on your point of view.

Maybe 5% of the population actually wants a no deal brexit. However, failing to prepare tends to be preparing to fail. In this case, does it cost UK PLC more to support making the bluff looking like a somewhat viable plan that then has to be honored as a legitimate threat by the EU negotiators that can then be negotiated away than it would cost if the EU negotiators call the bluff, knowing that it's a bluff?

If the potential cost of having the bluff called is higher than the cost of supporting the bluff then it's worth spending the money, although I do think it a bit of a shame that negotiations affecting ~500 million people and the strategic balance of power in Europe for the next 50-100 years are being treated as a high stakes game of poker that inevitably neither side can win.

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European nations told to sort out 'digital tax' on tech giants by end of year

Peter2
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Re: Start with the basics and work from there

Before everyone gets emotive and irrational, hows about the EU/Austria first define "fair".

That was done about a quarter millennia ago. The company pays the country x% of profit (X% varied, but was around 10-25% depending on which country) and in turn the country could afford to build and maintain roads, hire police forces to prevent highway robbery, educate the populace and later to provide things like healthcare and pensions.

Companies decided that they could find and exploit loopholes and not pay their taxes, and all of a sudden are competing on how little tax they can pay. If you were defining "unfair" then this is probably it.

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Peter2
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The problem is that a minority of businesses are making profits, and then not paying a not unreasonable 20% tax on their profit before transferring the remaining 80% abroad.

Your suggestion to obtain more money from these businesses who are not paying that 20% is to lower the tax on having an office or other physical business space which they can't avoid, and then switch to taxing via VAT, which is currently being evaded by these companies in the EU by "paying" the VAT in ireland at a rate of 0% on exports. Your suggestion actually appears to be "don't tax multinational companies".

I can't see who benefits from this other than the heads of the multinationals.

Why do you need to post that as an Anonymous Coward, by the way?

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Peter2
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Ok. So this proposal is for a 3% tax on revenues as all of the profit has been classed as revenue and passed out to tax havens such as Ireland and Luxembourg, who predictably are trying to oppose the existing arrangements changing as it benefits them to the detriment of everybody else.

I have two major objections. First is the timescale. 12 to 24 months seems a bit slow. I was thinking 12 to 24 days. It shouldn't take much longer than that to draft something and push it through both houses of parliament when both parties are likely to vote for it. Every country in the EU could have slightly differing legislation in place within a month or so if there was will to tackle the problem and legislation can always be amended in tidying up exercises later down the line if required.

My second objection is simply the numbers mentioned here. Services companies tend to expect a 20% profit, and retailers can make much, much more than this.

Assuming that 20% of revenue is profit:-

10% revenue tax would be equivalent to 50% tax on profit

5% revenue tax would be equivalent to 25% tax on profit

2.5% revenue tax would be equivalent to 12% tax on profit

At the moment UK corporation tax is 20% tax on profit. If there is a 3% revenue tax applied as suggested off in the article then companies are still going to be getting a tax discount compared to if they hadn't of gone evading tax to start with, or maybe be in a revenue neutral position. I think that this approach is seriously wrong.

My take on it is that after ~250 years of taxing companies on their profits if we are now having to come up with new laws to deal with a new generation of amoral pointy haired bosses who are scamming their tax bills down then the response should be sufficiently punitive to make it painfully clear for the next 250 years that it's not worth creatively exploring the limits of what is possible to scam the taxpayer out of.

I'd apply revenue taxes individually to companies that have taken the piss. In my view, the absolute minimum level of revenue tax that should be considered is 5%, equating to a rough rate of about 25% of profits going by my assumptions above.

Personally, my conscience wouldn't be troubled by taxing the companies involved at up to 15% of revenue (or higher) until Her Majesties Revenue & Customs have collected around 120%-200% of what they think might have been evaded by that company with creative tax arrangements, at which point I might be inclined to consider talking about considering returning to a percentage tax on profits for these companies if they are willing to stop taking the piss. It'd leave a lasting message that it's not worth pissing about and quietly dismantle the "don't pay tax!" industry.

What's the worst that could happen? The affected companies might struggle, but public services are struggling because taxes aren't being paid so my sympathy is rather limited. If we have a few billion extra in tax receipts then we can slip the NHS an extra few billion or start paying down the debt pile, repayments on which are comparatively larger than either the defense or education budget.

I doubt that anybody on either the political left or right is going to seriously complain about taxing companies that have not been paying their fair share of tax. Even if this level of tax is too high, and puts those companies out of business then what's the worst that happens? The companies smaller UK competitors who have been disadvantaged by paying tax end up picking up their former competitors market share which UK PLC then gets the tax money from there instead? Hardly sounds like a disaster.

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Software dev-turned-councillor launches rubbish* chatbot

Peter2
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Re: FFS

Not if it's on private land, which it usually is round here. Then the landowner has to pay for the lot.

Or quietly move it from his land to the pavement, making it a council problem.

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5G can help us spy on West Midlands with AI CCTV, giggles UK.gov

Peter2
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Re: A possibly explosive question.

I'm not convinced about "the police have lost all trust" meme that a minority pushes.

Firstly, those examples? So long ago that the people responsible are either retired or dead in practically all cases. Most police officers serving today hadn't even been born when many of those offenses took place.

Secondly, i'd highlight that the same people who scream that "da police are pigs dude" are as a rule the first to call the police when they are attacked by some nut hopped up on drugs, or get offended by unpleasant Facebook or Twitter messages.

The reason that the police on the street don't have any trust is because you don't see police on the street anymore, unless they are responding to a 999 call because they are so tied up with meaningless drivel like the aforementioned nonsense Facebook/twitter messages that people call them with, or they are tied up with absurd amounts of paperwork. And yes, I think that filling out 17 different forms for arresting somebody is fairly describable as absurd.

Police officers tend to join up because they want to run around catching criminals, not spending >70% of their time doing basic admin work.

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Microsoft gives Windows 10 a name, throws folks a bone

Peter2
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Or are more than half of the features that a given Office user uses in a business setting missing?

The only feature missing is the ability to perfectly impersonate word/excel through whatever interface is used to programmatically create documents from an external program. (ie, business CRM systems, etc)

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Forget WannaCry, staff themselves pose a risk to healthcare data

Peter2
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Re: Genuine questions

Remember that the NHS has your name, address & telephone number which are universally saleable as well as blood type, weight, shoe size, etc. which are probably more specialty data with a more limited market.

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Mozilla changes Firefox policy from ‘do not track’ to ‘will not track’

Peter2
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Re: It's about time

Apart from a superficial layer, there's not exactly much choice though, is there?

There are now 4 major browser engines available and people create lists of the top ten decent web browsers.

If you remember being stuck with IE6 or IE6 (with a shut down development team, because Microsoft put Netscape out of business so they didn't have any credible competition) then that's a big improvement.

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Peter2
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Re: It's about time

Then how come it works SO well that Chrome overtook Firefox

Because Google tells everybody to install chrome who visits Google with a different web browser?

As one of the people who moved off of IE6 to FF1 my view which browser is presently in the lead is really an irrelevance. The important thing is that there is competition and choice in web browsers. This is definitely the case.

Personally, I got fed up with the constant barrage of new versions in firefox and went for the ESR release years ago. Then I got fed up with trying to fight against whomever at Mozilla has been taking lessons from Microsoft's Windows 10 team in changing my existing user interface preferences and making it difficult to change them back, and figured that I wouldn't be the only one fed up. I found one of the Firefox forks (Pale Moon) which is populated by people with the same complaint, and switched to it.

That's what a healthy competitive market for web browsers looks like. One where you have choice.

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UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo

Peter2
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Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

The French and Dutch have enough territories spotted around the world for Galileo base stations.

Could you highlight which French or Dutch territories exist in the south Atlantic?

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Peter2
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Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

We don't need to jam Galileo. Without correction, the atomic clocks drift. A small fraction of a second is a meter inaccuracy, so you have a bunch of ground stations that collect data to spot them drifting so they can be updated precisely.

One such station is located on Ascension Island, and another is on the Falklands Islands. If we depart on bad terms with the EU and somebody pulls the plug then this is quite sufficient to cause Galileo problems without going the extra mile.

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Surprise! VAT, customs likely to get a bit trickier in a Brexit no-deal world

Peter2
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Re: Can anyone

The wages paid at the lowest end are limited by the minimum wage level. If you want to campaign to increase that, I'll even support you, but you will pay more for the privilege.

This is what the situation should be, however it is not the situation that actually exists.

The lowest end in our economy is also the reason why employment is so "low". People are forced into being "self employed" by their employer evading any employment protections. The former staff member having "resigned" from their employer (of course, no coercion; no siree!) then has no rights at all. They get no pension, holiday pay, and are often paid per job, rather than per hour. This is essentially a return of piecework from Victorian times.

A 37 hour week on the minimum wage does not put you at the bottom of the lowest end of the UK Labour market. Not by far.

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Teardown chaps strip away magic from Magic Leap's nerd goggles

Peter2
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Re: So it's not that magical now that it's real ? Shocking, innit ?

I'm curious to see if anyone will be able to pull that off within the next few years. Anyone of you been messing about with these type of headsets care to comment?

I have played with various generations of 3D system, some of which date back before some people reading this have been alive so I am probably aware of a few issues which tend to go overlooked.

Each generation of 3D system has improved somewhat, but overall are still disappointing. They are a gimmick, and will likely always remain so.

Certain problems are never addressed with any system, and are probably unfixable. Any system using glasses means that your eyes keep focusing on something very close to them, and then is being tricked into thinking that it is seeing different distances. This means that your eyes muscles are under a tremendous amount of pressure in constantly refocusing, which leads to eyestrain, which leads to headaches.

Additionally, as the system gets progressively better, you end up with motion sickness when your eyes report that you are moving, and your other senses (inner ear, etc) report that your stationary.

The magic leap system is an attempt to resolve the latter issue, but the former issue is effectively impossible to resolve.

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A third of London boroughs 'fess to running unsupported server software

Peter2
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Re: Science Museum

Once upon a time I went to London and visited the Science Museum. They had a great many legacy technology on display, including Sptifire and Hurricane fighters, which makes me wonder if all those exhibits still enjoy regular support and maintenance from their original factories.

. . . Actually, yes. They do.

In 1963, a Mr Bill Lear Jr was living in Geneva, Switzerland and flying a surplus P-51. After numerous problems with the starter clutch on his Packard-built Merlin, he contacted Rolls-Royce. They instructed Lear to send them the clutch, which was quickly repaired and returned. Lear adds:

“I called my benefactor to thank him and to ask him when to expect an invoice. His reply was: ‘My dear Mr. Lear, Rolls-Royce-designed products do not fail. They may require occasional adjustment, but this is covered by our unlimited warranty. So there is no charge, sir.’

I was blown away. The engine and clutch had been manufactured under license in the U.S.A. by Packard in 1944, yet Rolls still stood behind them in 1963!”

Apparently this has been found quite handy by the RAF with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, but I suspect that the science museum doesn't really require that much in the way of support.

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Peter2
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Oh, how terrible.

Actually, an admission; If I was answering a survey similar to this honestly then i'd have to reply that i'm still running either NT4 or Win2k. (not actually sure which) Additionally, i'd have to admit that it's never had a security patch since being installed and that I have no plans to touch it.

This is because it runs the firms voicemail system, and came with the telephone system a very long time ago and has quietly kept ticking on since. It's connection to the outside world is via a bank of 56k modems, which receive telephone calls and also do the usual voicemail playback stuff for internal staff. It doesn't even have a network card, being of the vintage where motherboards left network and USB connectivity to be provided by PCI cards, rather than being baked into the motherboard.

The only way of getting information out of it would be direct physical access to the console (bringing your own PS2 mouse & keyboard + DSub monitor) and then writing something to transfer the data via the serial port. It's sort of more "no risk" than low risk when you consider remote data compromise. It's (still!) got an external support contract for BCM, which ends any concern about it still being kicking around after what now must be about 20 years.

I have yet to speak to somebody else at an industry event who won't admit to having something really old like this sitting around somewhere.

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Scot.gov wins pals with pledge not to keep hold of innocents' mugshots and biometric data

Peter2
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Challenge: the various systems operated by each police force are setup to automatically send information to the national police database, but are not programmed to retrieve data from the national system when a case is deleted, meaning that deletions would have to be a manual process until change requests are done for each of the systems in question.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_police_forces_of_the_United_Kingdom

Whitehall has 44 county police forces, plus the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police. =47 police forces to deal with. If you take a dozen people per force * 47 forces this would require a commitment of 564 staff.

Scotland has one police force to deal with. 1 * 12 = 12 staff.

This might have some bearing on why Scotland.gov is happier to quickly commit to things like this than Whitehall.

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Australia's Snooper's Charter: Experts react, and it ain't pretty

Peter2
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Did they read peoples post back in the day?

In the UK, according to MI5 they did. Firstly they required a warrant to open each individual letter, and faced with WW1 and german espionage they did a blanket authorisation to open the letters of suspects.

This however was a manual process that involved individually intercepting the message from the post, redirecting it to a centre where it was opened by steaming it with a kettle to make the glue stop sticking, reading the letter and checking for invisible ink etc, followed by then copying the contents down, resealing said letter and getting it back in the Royal Mail delivery system so a delay wasn't noticed.

This required a lot of work. Setting a scanning program up that searches for certain key words in every electronic communication sent by anybody in the country is a bit more intrusive, and probably more tedious as it results in a few useful bits of information buried in such a mass of false positives that I suspect it's practically useless.

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The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs

Peter2
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My view is that HDD's die when SSD's get the production cost lower than an HDD. While companies will probably exit the HDD market, this just props up the others, until only one is left. When that happens, that manufacturer will probably just ditch all of the R&D (no point in future development after a certain point) and just churn out cheap drives on their existing equipment.

Taking tape drives as a point of reference, i'd expect that HDD's will be with us for the forseeable future, certainly the next 10 years, probably the next 20 although likely dropping into niche markets like SAN's, which have a good use for low cost high volume storage. Of course, if the cost of making an SSD suddenly drops by half (which I can't see happenning) then all bets are off and the SSD probably dies within 6 months.

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Pentagon 'do not buy' list says нет to Russia, 不要 to Chinese code

Peter2
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Re: Hypnotic Stare of the Beast

One of the reasons for the Fall of Soviet Communism is that they convinced the rooskies that everything American was shiny and good, so they spent more on industrial spying than they did on R&D. I feel confident that both bogus plans for real cool things, and real plans for bogus cool things, were on offer.

Might I suggest that you google "Farewell Dossier" and have a read?

Armed with foreknowledge of what the Soviets were trying to steal it was ensured that they stole "designed to be faulty" processors, control code etc. When this stolen technology was used it screwed with factory output which helped add to the infamous soviet quality problems, and it's claimed that this was directly responsible for the siberian pipeline explosion in 1982.

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Some of you really don't want Windows 10's April 2018 update on your rigs

Peter2
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Re: Use Linux...

If someone who calls themselves a "technical person" and is unable to operate Linux, then they're lying about something.

Sure, I can operate Linux.

But the company I work for wants productivity software that reduces the need for a dozen people to do the job manually. That software only exists on Windows, ergo the company ends up running Windows desktops.

Now, somebody is going to come and say "but you can write the software!" in a minute, so i'm going to relate a little story.

I was chatting to the outgoing CEO of a large industry specific software house some while ago. By the by, he was one of the founders of his company (and the original coder in the really early days) and worked his way up to the top as the company expanded.

He related to me a tale about a larger competitor of our firm; they'd decided to go their own way and write their own system. The project was cancelled in favour of buying off the shelf software from his company after 6 years and a very, very large sun written off on the systems development.

He pointed out that his company could have been bought several times over for that expenditure. That is the stark reality of "oh, but you could develop the software...". For most companies it's far simpler (and ultimately cheaper) to buy off the shelf and let somebody else do the development.

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Spectre rises from the dead to bite Intel in the return stack buffer

Peter2
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Re: STOP THE WORLD!!

Still, we all use mechanical locks, and they've been proven to be vulnerable time and time again...

In comparison to what?

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Microsoft: The Kremlin's hackers are already sniffing, probing around America's 2018 elections

Peter2
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Re: Nope

Paper ballots have been counted and tallied electronically since the late 80-es.

They are actually LESS secure than a PROPERLY implemented electronic voting system.

Actually, nope. Maybe in the USA, but that's another one of those famous "only in America..." things.

In the UK, it's all done by hand and much information can be found on the process by the magic of Google. With 300 years to perfect the system for dealing with paper votes I think that frankly it's better and cheaper than any alternative.

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UK spies broke law for 15 years, but what can you do? shrugs judge

Peter2
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Re: I would hardly expect precise targetting

Same goes for spy slurping, you need to hide your targets in some noise operationally, even if not expressly legally.

You don't need to hide that information from the person authorising the warrant though.

Fortunately I don't believe GCHQ could genuinely monitor everything regardless of the tin foil hat brigades comments.

Probably not. But the fact remains that they are doing a dammed good job of trying, and the spy agencies do not have any meaningful or effective oversight, and there is evidently nobody to hold them to account when they are engaged in misconduct.

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Brit watchdog fines child sex abuse inquiry £200k over mass email blunder

Peter2
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Re: Bureaucracy fines bureaucracy, nothing changes

Microsoft could, dare I say it, voluntarily provide such a facility as a corporate social responsibility thing.

Exchange management console -> Organisation settings -> Transport settings -> Maximum number of recipients.

Stating the obvious however, the orginisation has to have the social responsibility to change the settings from the defaults.

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Spooked Cisco chief phoned AWS, asked: You're not making a switch, are you?

Peter2
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Re: Not yet anyway.

Because they figured the market for Home/SME network switches is better than high end commercial switches?

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Elon Musk, his arch nemesis DeepMind swear off AI weapons

Peter2
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Re: Pertly off the subject....

Atomic weapons are too powerful, and leave lots of radioactive dust floating around that can't be neatly confined to the battlefield. Worse, they invite retaliation in kind which could lead to wiping out the countries involved. It's simply not worth the risk of using these, frankly and easier to agree not to use them, but have a bunch that could be used if other people don't keep to the gentlemans agreement.

Biological weapons could conceivably wipe out the entire planets population. Everybody can agree that this is a bit nuts and well worth avoiding.

It was well established during WW1 that chemical weapons are not a worthwhile war winning weapon even in the most ideal circumstances (on a static battlefield like a trench) and yet do float off in directions unexpected and kill civilians who were not intended to be the targets and can contaminate wide areas which costs megabucks to decontaminate. Again, not worth it.

Whereas bullets and explosive shells are at least nominally aimed at the person they are intended to hit, and have little long term effect on a wider area.

There is little morality to politics, only practicality.

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Google to build private trans-Atlantic cable from US to France

Peter2
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Re: What about contingency?

What could be achieved with state of the art laser tech, and satellites stationed in high defensive orbits, or even at Lagrange points? Latency might be high, but that is easier to cater for than crippling loss of overall bandwidth.

Nothing.

There is no such thing as a "high defensive orbit". If you can toss something into geostationary orbit then it doesn't matter how "high up" the target is, you can still hit it. Remember that Russia, China, the US and the EU have the demonstrated ability to throw things out of orbit with existing launchers.

Frankly, if things are so serious that every satellite in orbit has been blown away and the submarine cables have been cut then I suggest that you might as well just stick to bouncing really short wave radio off the ionosphere and call it a day, since you'll probably find that a very major war is underway and that anything deployed to try and provide better comms (fleets of blimps or aircraft deployed as repeaters) is probably going to face some form of interference. Like jamming, or simply finding that your planes/blimps get shot down or one of your base stations gets bombed.

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Trump wants to work with Russia on infosec. Security experts: lol no

Peter2
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Re: Tee hee. Trump is to Putin as --

He attacked NATO for the same reason: he is, under the sheets, pwned by Putin. Why would he say the EU is America's foe?

Because the USA has a big trade deficit with the EU. The EU ensures that this is perpetuated by locking US firms out of the EU market on regulatory grounds. On food this is a bit of a piss take considering that EU firms sell horsemeat as beef, sell sausages infected with hepatitis and eggs containing dangerous levels of fipronil. Yet American food is supposedly dangerous and needs to be kept out of the wonderfully safe and well regulated EU market because it might not be as safe.

And this is just covering what's been mentioned in the news recently. Shall we note here that the EU managed to screw up regulation of vehicles leading to the EU having a crisis over illegally high (and dangerous) levels of emissions and thereby pollution, which was turned up by the US regulators who if one were to beleive the EU party line are dangerously lax and in the pocket of those companies. Things don't quite add up there, do they?

Another reason the USA might consider the EU to be taking the piss is that the USA is obliged by treaty through NATO to militarily defend what are primarily EU nations, quite a few of which then massively neglect their military establishment (cough, germany, cough) while making a killing out of one sided trade with the USA and then saying that they treat NATO spending of 2% of GDP as a target they will work towards, but then only plan to increase spending to 1.5% of GDP over the course of the next decade despite sitting on a record budget surplus. And you wonder why Trump gets rather confrontational with Ms Merkel?

These points might have something to do with why Trump thinks the EU is taking the piss and considers it an enemy.

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Submarine cables at risk from sea water, boffins warn. Wait, what?

Peter2
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Re: Not really a big issue

They don't have to move it, just build retaining walls around the facility. There are only a limited number of relatively small facilities, it wouldn't cost much (in relative terms, especially compared to trying to move them entirely) to build up sea walls and, eventually, turn them into small islands.

Yep. A newbuild office right next to a river in a flood plain did this. The developers quickly discovered that nobody would rent the place due to the fact that everybody living in the area knew that area flooded not infrequently.

Shortly thereafter, a team of blokes with some JCB's turned up and built a ~2 metre high earth bank around the building, and a ramp over it for vehicle access. It was then rented out shortly afterwards.

When the river inevitably flooded, the building was left sitting in an unflooded island, and a local place hiring out canoes did some unexpected and unseasonal hires. No reason the same couldn't be done for critical infrastructure.

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Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

Peter2
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Re: Hasn't halon been banned or something in the '90s?

No probs. Kind of easy to assume the stuff is lethal given that the BOFH uses it as a mass murder weapon!

Kudo's for checking and realising (and admitting) you were wrong as well. Increasingly rare these days, unfortunately :)

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Peter2
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Re: Hasn't halon been banned or something in the '90s?

You can't breath any [Halon] (that's the point) so it's the difference between NATO 5.56 and Russian 5.45 x 39.

Actually, no. Halon does not put fires out by displacing oxygen. It has some kind of funky chemical reaction which reduces the heat from the fire, which puts it out. IIRC, you can breathe the stuff for (IIRC) something like 15 minutes before you start getting a headache from it.

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Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Hasn't halon been banned or something in the '90s?

Like a CO2 flood, which is probably more lethal?

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Heatwave shmeatwave: Brit IT departments cool their racks – explicit pics

Peter2
Silver badge

With a half dozen top mounted case fans in fullsize cabinets, yeah. Bog standard arrangement.

But the article was showing pictures of those little wallmount comms cabinets which are generally mounted as close to the ceiling as the cabling contractor could get, which means you can't get access to the top. The article showed people having the same heat management problems with the comms cabinets as with larger cabinets and trying to control the temp by blowing ambient air into the hot space at the back with a normal deskfan.

My point is simply that controlling tempretures in a small cabinet is best done in exactly the same way as with a larger cabinet; kick the hot air out with a case fan or two and cooler air gets sucked in the other opening.

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Peter2
Silver badge

. . .

Ok. Racks get hot because the equipment in them draws cold air from the front, and then blows hot air out of the back. As wallmount cabling cabinets are poorly designed for airflow the hot air in the back can escape in two ways, firstly through escaping out of the tiny holes drilled in the side which probably wouldn't let enough air in to keep a hampster alive, and secondly by escaping out of the front in the gaps around the mounting rails. This hot air then mostly gets sucked back in the air intakes at the front of the equipment in the rack. The rack then gets hotter and hotter until the equipment generating the heat melts.

We can all agree that's the problem? Cool.

So why in the name of $DEITY do people blow cold air into the hot aisle they've created to cool the cabinet down? It's just pushing the hot air out the front, hopefully faster than it's being pulled back in again. A more elegant solution is to pull the air out of the hot aisle so that cool air is sucked in the front and hot air goes out of the back.

A PC case fan is ideal for this, and most IT departments have at least one dead PC waiting to be properly disposed of that can part with it's case fan. Figuring out how to get 12v to it should be an exercise left to the imagination of the reader, but I shall comment that most supermarkets will sell 12v PSU's for a few quid. This combination provably lasts years running 24/7 as long as the H&S people don't see the spliced wiring connecting these two parts.

There are of course other methods such as using transformers already owned by your organisation, such as running a long cable from the 12v rail on a nearby PC, buggering the dead PC's PSU so that it'll run without anything connected, sacrificing one of those 12v transformers in that box of surplus to requirement parts saved for a rainy day, or wiring 4 (12v) fans from the (48v) output from the PoE switch which is generating most of the heat in the cabinet for Cooling Over Ethernet, but a dedicated 12v supply is by far the best option.

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BT's Patterson keeps his £1.3m wheelbarrow of bonus cash after all

Peter2
Silver badge

Re: not for profit?

The best option, IMO would be to simply ensure that these sort of companies (especially companies like Nominet) are either owned by the Crown Estate, or are setup on a similar basis.

In short, for those not already aware the Crown Estate is a business with 14Billion worth of assets, but pays all of it's yearly profits (~£330million) into the bottomless pit of HM Treasury. If the public pays for things such as a fiber rollout in areas where it is not economically viable for companies to pay for it then my view is that those assets shouldn't just be gifted to BT/Openreach and should instead be held by the Crown Estate and then rented to them to recoup at least some of the cost for the taxpayer.

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Peter2
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name me one privatised industry in the UK that has benefited the people that use it or work for them?

Post WW2, there is a really long list of industries that were nationalised, many of which were making huge losses. Aircraft manufacture, Car manufacture, shipbuilding, coal mining, you name it. This continued up until the point the country was literially bankrupted by the mess and had to go to the IMF with a begging bowl.

The solution to get out of the hole was simply to privatise everything.

The idea was never really about benefiting the people using or working for the companies, it was simply to stop those entities bankrupting the country to the detriment of everybody living in the country.

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BGP hijacker booted off the Internet's backbone

Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Good news all round

My feeling is that most spam is done by a handful of people. If you look at the spam logs closely you can pretty much tell when the spammers take holidays and aren't "working".

For me personally, January was quite interesting. The 1st through the 14th had a relatively low tiny level of spam (<20%) The 16th-19th had a big blip of 80%, which then dropped down to ~20% again until the 28th (interestingly a Sunday, which is unusual as weekends are normally dead quiet for spam) where for the next few days up to 94.67% of emails received were spam.

Almost as if somebody took a 14 day holiday, was back for a couple of days and then went off on holiday again, followed by coming back and unleashing a tsunami of spam that bordered on being a DDOS.

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I think I'm a clone now: Chinese AMD Epyc-like server chips appear in China. What gives?

Peter2
Silver badge

I'm sure HP and Dell would sell you a Ryzen box if they thought it was profitable.

I take it that you missed Intel sucessfully locking AMD out of the market when the Athlon64 and Opetron completely blew away the P4 and Xeon's of the time?

El Reg covered this quite nicely back then:-

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/26/after_the_dell_settlement/

This also summerises quite nicely.

https://mlexmarketinsight.com/insights-center/editors-picks/antitrust/europe/intel-denounces-huge-expansion-of-eus-legal-reach-in-antitrust-fine-appeal

Intel’s illegal conduct was two-fold: firstly, giving rebates to computer manufacturers — Dell, HP, NEC and Lenovo — if they bought all, or almost all, of their processors from Intel. This was also combined with direct payments to a German retailer Media Saturn Holding for stocking only Intel products.

Secondly, Intel paid HP, Acer and Lenovo to limit or delay rival AMD-equipped products and squeeze them out of sales channels, the commission found.

Personally, I doubt that the same retailers not selling anything from AMD this time around is down to the merits of the product.

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Peter2
Silver badge

Hopefully AMD will make enough money from this to survive whatever Intel's next anti competitive action to keep AMD out of the market is.

Have you noticed how difficult it is to buy a ready built AMD Ryzen from the people caught doing anti competitive deals with Intel last time? You wouldn't know that Ryzen has a better price/performance point judging by the fact that Dell only do Ryzen's in their alienware range at a seriously premium price. And um, the fact that despite HP thereotically selling PC's with Ryzens in you can't actually order them from the HP.com website.

Funny that.

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Cops suspect Detroit fuel station was hacked before 10 drivers made off with 2.3k 'free' litres

Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Outrageous!

What about writing down the tag numbers and telling drivers they will be reported for theft? I think the attendant was either sleeping, or selling the gas for cash at a discount.

Garages have CCTV for that, as it's more useful in a court case so they ought to be able to do that anyway.

The problem was probably that the attendant a minimum wage employee, and didn't know what to do in that situation and wasn't willing to make any kind of judgement call lest he or she be fired for doing "the wrong thing" by an opressively sociopathic manager, who themselves has sod all decision making autonomy and so just enjoys lording it over their staff.

Remember that IT employees are generally given more lattitude to make these sort of decisions than many other workers can dream of. Personally, after thinking about it for about 2 minutes i'd pull the emergency stop on that row of pumps, stick up an "out of order" sign, and then force people to use the other pumps and call in manglement to figure things out. But again, that is probably more lattitude than the poor sods doing that sort of job are allowed to exercise.

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DNS ad-hocracy in peril as ICANN advisors mull root server shakeup

Peter2
Silver badge

Ever since ICANN took full stewardship of various crucial internet functions – such as overseeing DNS and domain names – from the US government's Department of Commerce, it has been considering questions like: who holds root server operators accountable and to what rules;

Ever since ICANN took full stewardship of various crucial internet functions – such as overseeing DNS and domain names – from the US government's Department of Commerce, practically everybody on the internet has been wondering who the fuck holds ICANN responsible, and to what rules.

They ignore their own guidence rules and byelaws, and attempt to eliminate their ability to be held to account in court via contract.

The root servers aren't a problem at the moment. ICANN is.

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