* Posts by Mike 16

566 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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What code is running on Apple's Secure Enclave security chip? Now we have a decryption key...

Mike 16
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Demanding your PIN

Has the UK stopped making it illegal to refuse to hand over "passwords'? Or do PINs not count as passwords?

As for the US it may not be legal to demand your PIN, but if the friendly officer merely politely asks, while swinging his baton ever closer to your head, well, nothing wrong with that, right?

Also, the "no effect on security" is not quite true. When a black-hat examines that code and discovers a vulnerability either hoarded by the TLAs, or planted by their moles, you can bet that security will be affected.

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Strip club selfie bloke's accidental discharge gets him 6 years in clink

Mike 16
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I'd have to guess

He was holding it wrong.

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Hey America! Your internet is going to be so much better this January

Mike 16
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In related news

The Bureau of Standards has declared that it will peg the definition of the standard "inch" to the International Plot unit of "centimeter". This will allow POTUS to claim his hands are 12 inches long (YUGE!) and incidentally make them feet.

In re "Broadband": My first non-dialup internet was over Cable, at 1.5Mbps. But it really _was_ 1.5Mbps, reliably, measured frequently (and a static routable IP address) . Nowadays I have "up to 20", which I can't recall ever having caught above 6. So it looks like redefinition is "in the air".

YMMV TTFN

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New Amiga to go on sale in late 2017

Mike 16
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Re: Just remember... @Mike 16

Minor nit-pick: PaperBoy was, IIRC, PDP-11-based. I recently managed to get a T-11 chip as was used on the "System II" games. If my memory is not further addled, the "System II" games were also mostly programmed in BLISS-16, cross-compiled on a VMS Vax-11/780. _L_o_n_g_ time ago...

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Mike 16
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Re: Just remember...

A few slight corrections to a generally accurate post:

The Amiga chipset was in development before Atari got involved (other than their involvement of pissing off anough 2600/400/800 designers to make them available to Amiga). Atari did not "commision" them, and I don't recall there being any intent of using the chipset in coin-op. Atari came in with financing they needed, in exchange for rights to produce a game-console with the chipset, and a PC after a specified "head start" for the Amiga-branded one. This was a safe bet because Amiga was unlikely to have a saleable product much before the date that Atari could compete. (Source: I interviewed with Amiga, knowing some folks there, before any Atari connection. My life was not in a state where I could take the risk right then, but I stayed, and remain, in contact with a few)

The ST design already existed (was in progress) when TTL got Atari Consumer. It was designed by some C64 folks who had left with JT when he was ousted at Commodore. (Source, folks who were at Atari under both regimes, at least for a while. The rumor was that JT essentially bought the Atari logo to slap on the designated heir)

JT knew of the Amiga folks, and possibly their connection to Atari, before the sale, and his intention was to strangle the Amiga in its cradle, not to leverage it for his own future product (which was already in progress, see above). He was really pissed that it had escaped, and how it had escaped. (Source, some of the same as above, and few ex-commodore folks with more access to Mahogany row. This is the most tenuous of what I "know" via such rumors.)

The Amiga guys were pretty scrupulous about avoiding 2600/400/800 I.P. in designing the chipset. So there are philosophical "bloodlines, but nothing that could expose them to patent lawsuits if the Atari/Warner deal soured. They were not stupid. (Source: again, my personal connections with them).

(OTOH, Warner/Atari had a record of "winning" lawsuits and as a result sending money to the "losers". there was a joke at the time that to get rich in the games industry, just get Atari to sue you, and lose :-)

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She's back! Jessica Rosenworcel returns to FCC as America's net neutrality row heats up

Mike 16
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Re: Who's to say we will have to wait until 2020?

Winning a Senate seat is about state-level politics. Believe it or not some residents of "Red" states like Kale and don't want to queue up for DNA testing before peeing, so it is _possible_ for a senate seat to flip. In the house, most districts are so ruthlessly gerrymandered that unseating the incumbent would require and act of congress, if not an act of God. Oh, and the gerrymandering preserves the majority in the state legislature too, so will continue, as most states leave redistricting to to those already in power.

As Fred Brooks says: "There is no Silver Bullet".

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Sun's core in a real spin, but you wouldn't know just by looking at it

Mike 16
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Misleading?

I came here for another Oracle rant.

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No vulns. No hardwired passwords. Patchable. Congress dreams of IoT: Impossible Online Tech

Mike 16
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Re: "must not have any known security vulnerabilities, must have the ability to be patched"

--- Presumably, no known vulnerabilities when you buy the thing and needs to be patched if/when new bugs are found later. ---

Or, you know, new vulnerabilities are introduced by patching. Wouldn't be the first time.

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It’s 2017 and Hayes AT modem commands can hack luxury cars

Mike 16
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EOL

While I have "fun" using computers from the last millenium, the vendors (of both software and hardware) do seem to be hell-bent to make the "Clean Cup, move down" moment at 5 years or less. Yes, you _can_ run _a_ browser on _a_ laptop from 2009, but good luck using any of the "modern" websites if you do. And then there's the "You can connect to your new iPhone, _or_ run Adobe Creative Suite" aspect of OS updates from a certain vendor.

But the reason I came here is that I just read, on another site which will not be named, that the patents on the 80486 have expired, and the Pentium patents are doomed soon. I recalled that (cough) some major OS suppliers are dropping 486 support. Can it be that they don't want to deal with a flurry of "almost a 486" CPUs, each with their own quirks?

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It took DEF CON hackers minutes to pwn these US voting machines

Mike 16
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Timeline

---

The US survived using non-internet voting for over two hundred years.

---

Not sure where you are counting from. The literal "Voting Machines" (mechanical devices with levers) were quite famous in the day for their behavior on behalf of the figurative "Voting Machines" that controlled several major cities. This was early 20th century IIRC, so a good bit less than 200 years of successful non-internet voting.

Meanwhile, hacking a voting machine (or a whole county's worth) only gets you so far. The real action is in hacking the central tabulating systems, as allegedly happened in Diebold's home state of Ohio a few elections back. It's another form of leverage :-)

And we have a lot less than three years. Gerrymandering is (typically) under the control of state legislatures, so those boring state elections make a big difference.

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Virgin Media's profanity warning triggered by chief exec's name

Mike 16
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Pink

Was that the filter that blocked the website of a pig farm (mentioned in ElReg some years back)?

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The Italian Jobs: Bloke thrown in the cooler for touting Apple knockoffs

Mike 16
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Counterfeit?

Or "Ghost Shift"? (Where a factory "accidentally" makes more of a product than the customer ordered, and "disposes" of them via trash haulers who for some reason have a landfill in another country).

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US Homeland Sec boss has snazzy new laptop bomb scanning tech – but admits he doesn't know what it's called

Mike 16
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Re: Flashbacks (Petaluma)

You got something against Wrist Wrestling? Or is it the poultry and dairy farms? They at least have an old-school Radio Shack, with components, not just phone-plans.

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Mike 16
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Undetectable Timer

Can't they just use a Casio F91-W ("Terrorist Watches" that,combined with certain physical characteristics, could win you a very unpleasant time at the airport, and maybe a free ride to Cuba)?

More seriously, the TRS80 Model 100 had provision for the laptop's own real-time clock to bring it out of sleep and run a program at any designated time. 1980s tech, so I'm sure not everyone has forgotten how to do it.

As for not understanding the tech, I suspect this is just his way of (not) saying: "Well, it's a CAT-scan machine like you find in many hospitals, but these will be a special version that we cannot discuss until we have all the shell corporations in place to prevent a recurrence of the kerfuffle about the last Scanner binge, where due to certain traitors, it somehow appeared that members of Homeland Security had a financial interest in the one approved vendor"

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Reg reader turns Geek's Guides to Britain into Geek's Map of Britain

Mike 16
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I'd have to skip the Hovercraft Museum

Wife has a bad reaction to eels.

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Burglary, robbery, kidnapping and a shoot-out over… a domain name?!

Mike 16
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Confirmation?

Did Hopkins plan to wait until the transfer was confirmed? by GoDaddy? Eventually everybody has to sleep, or tend to other bodily functions, giving Deyo the opportunity to escape

Confession: I used GoDaddy back in the day when I was young and foolish. No longer young. But they still keep sending me notice that the credit card I registered for automatic payments for services I did have, but not for a decade or more, has expired, so "My account has been frozen"

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Europe's 'one patent court to rule them all' vision may be destroyed by EPO shenanigans

Mike 16
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Why the surprise

at what has gone on? Don't any commenters here have any experience in corporate or non-profit organizations (we expect it in clearly labeled politics)? The only rare thing is how long it has gone on, but I doubt he is more the one sigma above median for "entrenched petty dictator of allegedly noble group".

It's just that the EPO has a bit more visibility than the East Frogbottom Library Acquisitions Committee.

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The Atari retro games box is real… sort of

Mike 16
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Re: Atari 2600: the original and still the best?

I came here to make that point about "original", but you beat me. Thanks for the image.

Anyway, on the "attraction of nostalgia" front, when burglars took my television, back about 1982, they took the time to unhook the (heavy sixer) VCS and leave it behind.

They also left me the VT-100, so maybe just no taste for nerd-gear.

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Presto crypto: IBM releases gruntier, faster Z14 mainframe

Mike 16
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Re: typo? or my parochialism?

A co-worker used to have a news clipping tacked to his wall. It was a headline from the Vietnam War era (not that far past, at the time): "Newsmen visit 'bombed' dykes". I did have to wonder if those newsmen were visiting bars in certain parts of San Francisco, rather than farms in North Vietnam (where they would likely be more welcome).

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Pastor la vista, baby! FCC enforcers shut down church pirate radio

Mike 16
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Wimps these days...

50 years ago, a high-school friend ran a "pirate station" like so many PFYs. That's also about the time I read in a book from the 50s about somewhat more muscular FCC enforcement. Seems there was another "pastor" specializing in racist rants and Fascist propaganda, and unlike today, it was considered rude. More to the point, of course, he was interfering with licensed stations. Problem was, his transmitter, while easily visible from the U.S., was actually in Mexico, where neither the locals nor the Federales had any interest in helping end this operation. So, the story goes, one FCC field agent took things in his own hands, bought a (barely) running old truck and some explosive (need to clear them stumps somehow), and sent this sorta-guided missile through the barbed-wire border fence to take out the transmitter.

The U.S. presumably still does this sort of extra-judicial problem solving, but more quietly. You gotta say they did it with style back in the 1930s.

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€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

Mike 16
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Re: €100 seems steep for an old typewriter

--- $ 50,000 for a measly Apple I. ---

Quite possibly the worst investment decision I ever made was to turn down the opportunity to buy an Apple I for $75 (or all three the seller had for $200). I occasionally comfort myself with the thought that it's a tossup for bigger fool between me and him, as I believe he sold all three eventually at about that price.

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Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86

Mike 16
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Multics Hardware security

Funny you should mention Multics on Modern Hardware. When I first got the docs on the 80286, I said to myself: "looks like they want to run Multics on this beast". Rings, real segments, etc. Then I started using it and found that the segments were not quite as lovely as they were described (loading a descriptor was slow, and no caches for them). Intel could have fixed this for the 386, but it seems that the Great Unwashed _really_ wanted a memory model just like whatever Vax or SunOs machine they had in school, so they added fairly conventional page-maps as well. The death knell was probably when the folks who thought it was the bee's knees to execute code on the stack led the march to "forget segments" and map them all to one flat (page mapped) address space.

I also recall fighting with a gcc re-target over which of the configuration stuff to control things like stack layout would actually do so, or was "more like guidelines, really". Had to wonder WTF they would do with something like the IBM360 ABI that allowed "bushy stacks" (ala Burroughs) or the Power or Natsemi16032 that supported function pointers that were more than an index of octets in the one undifferentiated memory space.

In summary, Modern Hardware (for some values of "Modern") has at least vestigial support for Multics-worthy security and isolation. Modern Software developers for the most part seem more willing to eat a live toad than accept the constraints (and re-training) that might involve.

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Crashed RadioShack flogs off its IPv4 stash

Mike 16
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8 addresses, or 6?

Or at most 7, even if we forget the "Sun Broadcast" address. Plus trying to convince your upstream to route such a small slice. We used to get grief about routing our paired class-Cs (for 512, er, 508 routable addresses).

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Tape lives! The tape archive bit bucket is becoming bottomless

Mike 16
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Re: 8" floppy

No worries, I still have 4 low-mileage 8" drives and a working controller, so I can sort you out.

What concerns me is the 10^19 bit error rate. I hope they meant 10^-19. Otherwise, you're in Commodore floppy error rates.

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Boffins' five eyes surprise: Bees correct colour for ambient light

Mike 16
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What if you are trying to get a shot of a vampire coming out of his crypt at sunset?

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Mozilla dev and Curl inventor Daniel Stenberg denied travel to USA

Mike 16
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Re: ! (conferences out of USA)

For those of us who were born here here, and have no other citizenship, the problem then switches to coming back _in_ to the U.S.A. Especially if one is cautious enough to not carry ones own laptop, but download (Oh! Noes!, he accessed a US server from a foreign country) onto a locally acquired machine at the conference.

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Connectivity's value is almost erased by the costs it can impose

Mike 16
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The disappearance of online banking

That will be an interesting time. As it is, possessing cash over a certain threshold (as low as $50, apparently, in some places) makes you a target for LEOs who can "arrest the money" and make you jump through hoops that may not even prevail. So, you have a few choices:

1) Carry cash and hope you look rich enough and white enough to reduce the frequency of such predation. YMMV if you are dressed poorly or have an excess of melanin.

2) Use various "online" money transfer capabilities (including most cards these days), which can be shut off at whim (or the tracking details become the "six lines" the Cardinal needs).

3) raise all your own food, make all your own clothes, and barter for anything else.

(Yes, I know, "asset forfeiture" is mainly a U.S. thing today, but so was rock and roll at one time)

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Microsoft recommends you ignore Microsoft-recommended update

Mike 16
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Puts the urgent urging

towards "The only safe thing is to tick the 'always update without waiting for approval' box" nattering from the "all your box are belong to us" crowd (vendors, carriers, TLAs...) into perspective. OK, only for those who hear about it at all, the less than .01% of folks who get their news from ElReg or the like, rather than their local news station.

Again: Why must emergency security updates also include "oh, by the way, now we send all your family data to somebody named Blofeld, because we can (it's in the EULA!) " appendages? And as pointed out above, if you don't tick the box, you can choose letting bored teenagers also get that Blofeld feed or have all your documents rendered in Comic Sans (if you are lucky enough. That's one of the lighter punishments for updating by other means than buying a whole new computer).

As soon as those of us who remember not having to recompile the world (or buy the update of all apps) every time a font was added (and resent how it works now) succumb to old age, humanity will presumably enter a true wonkers paradise.

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Tech giants flash Russia their code blueprints in exchange for access

Mike 16
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The real question

is one I asked (well, submitted on a card) at a talk given by Bill Gates. (it did not "make the cut" to be actually asked). He had mentioned giving Windows Source to the Chinese government, and I wanted to know if they had in turn ever submitted any bug reports. What's better than having _one_ TLA hoarding vulns? How about seven or more?

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Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

Mike 16
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Politcal robocalls

Being a yank (well, living in Yankistan) I don't know about Canadian law, but in the U.S. there are exceptions to robocalling and "Do Not Call" violations. Chief among them are "calls from politicians". You wouldn't want to miss out on the latest saga of how your brave representatives are perpetually fighting for your welfare, would you?

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Not Apr 1: Google stops scanning your Gmail to sling targeted ads at you

Mike 16
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Gmail, or Gmail?

That is, "gmail the email service" or "gmail the ad-slinging, perpetually obstructive web interface"?

Got my gmail.com email address back when it was "invite only", just to bring a little stability to an email life that was plagued by ISP buyouts and mass email changes. Contrary to opinions expressed above, I understood exactly what they were doing to "target" the ads, and the "labels" concepts was really helpful.

I want to make clear, that gmail has never been my only email. Just my only "casual" email, with other far less public accounts on servers I control for "serious" email.

Anyway, I found the ads frequently humorous, even charming. Who wouldn't get a chuckle about seeing ads for kilt rental and bagpipe lessons displayed next to a thread on functional programming?

As the IMAP interface approached useful, and the web interface started to feel more like being a tester for Aperture Science ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBfIyeb8kc4 ), the writing was on the wall. I only go to the web interface when I need to do a search that the IMAP interface can't handle, and I log out as soon as possible, as being logged into any google property wakes up the unblinking eye. Maybe enough users are like me that the ad-decorated web service just doesn't get enough use to justify the bad karma.

As for "$5/month for an email address" (claimed above), would that be in Zimbabwe? An $8/month shared host at a number of places (even GoDaddy, for masochists) comes with some number (>10) email accounts, and has for years. OK, maybe $10/month to cover the amortized domain registration so I cannot be forcefully denied an unchanging email address for infrequent correspondents, but divided among all the family and friends also using that email server.

Worry more about the search engines you use (my primary is DuckDuckGo, but I miss Blekko and hope they are being fed well in IBM's dungeons), and the "Like" trackers on darn near every site.

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PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

Mike 16
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Re: Not a PC but...

Hardcore nerds might appreciate

http://www.windytan.com/2013/01/the-gsm-buzz.html

That "warning of incoming call" is a consequence of the combination of the GSM standard and electronics that were not designed to assume such a RF-noisy source would normally be present.

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Facebook gives itself mission to 'bring the world closer' by getting people off Facebook

Mike 16
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You want to be closer to those around you?

Try commuting on public transport.

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Let's go live to the 3rd circle of Hell – and see what Comcast and Charter are screwing up

Mike 16
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Re: It's sad

My only reason to doubt that Comcast did this is that it's a little hard to imagine the average Comcast contractor knowing which end of a shovel to pick up.

But yeah, the worst that happens to them is a fine totaling about 16 milliseconds of profit.

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Microsoft PatchGuard flaw could let hackers plant rootkits on x64 Windows 10 boxen

Mike 16
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Re: Um....

"...vulnerability' which required you to remove the laptop's case..."

So, you are not planning on traveling with your laptop (in checked baggage) for the foreseeable future?

The only way to be "safe" from targeted attacks is to be as innocuous as possible. The only way to be safe from "shotgun" attacks is to adopt an Amish lifestyle.

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Google, Mozilla both say they sped up the web today. One by blocking ads. One with ads

Mike 16
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Re: Targeted ads

What makes a viewer sure that an irritating ad is actually from the (apparent) sponsor? Maybe that Shredded Wheat ad was actually placed by a corn-flakes company. This sort of thing has been common in election advertising (at least in the U.S.) for a decade or more (midnight or dinnertime robo-calls "from" the buyer's opponent)

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When corporate signage goes BAD

Mike 16
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Done on purpose

in San Jose, California around Christmas, for many years. The lighted letters spelling San Jose Steel were blanked selectively to become NOEL (No diacritics on either, of course). Of course, the SF Bay area doesn't do nearly as much steel anymore. IIRC, all the steel for the rebuild of the Oakland bridge came from China.

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Tails OS hits version 3.0, matches Debian's pace but bins 32-bit systems

Mike 16
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So, what's the intersection

between "old enough to not have a BIOS or hardware backdoor" and "new enough to run TAILS"?

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You know this net neutrality thing? Well, people really love it

Mike 16
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Re: Don't expect any change

In many states, any potential competitor will be either outlawed outright (e.g. municipal or co-op ISPs) or made to jump through so many hoops that it would be cheaper to hand deliver each datagram on a gold platter.

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I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Mike 16
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My brain coughed up Tom Wolfe, or maybe Andy Warhol. Although, if he was wearing a white suit, Alec Guinness should be in the running, for the surname alone.

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Mike 16
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Re: Taking the war home...

OTOH, IIRC, Texas has an independent power grid, because Texas.

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Infosec guru Schneier: Govts WILL intervene to regulate Internet of Sh!t

Mike 16
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Re: simple (in theory)

Liability would at _best_ be a full-employment act for lawyers (Hmmm, may keep them busy enough to cut down on some of their usual mischief). Getting a judgment would be the first (and only marginally useful) step.

It's especially hard to get blood from a turnip when you cannot find the turnip, or the farmer.

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Boffins get routers spilling secrets through their LEDs

Mike 16
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Re: Ah, hacking the PA system, that brings back memories

At least two memories for me.

1) In a certain Telco office, some of the frame-men had a small speaker "tapping" the leased-line from a radio station studio to their transmitter. Music while you work, what could possibly go wrong? Then one day someone had a minor industrial accident and expressed their pain/anger verbally and forcefully. Every speaker is a microphone, especially when there is nothing but a transformer between it and the line. The "not ready for FCC" outburst was broadcast, and it was a race between the crew disconnecting and hiding evidence and the supervisors commanding that the culprits be found, under pressure from a major corporation.

2) At one job, we had an "advanced computer-controlled" phone system, with some quirks. One was that in some circumstances, a conversation could be "conferenced" to a paging number. One amusing instance had the whole engineering building listening in to a purchasing agent "negotiating" a kickback. We reported the issue to the phone vendor, but were told it was impossible. Our favorite bug-hunter figured out the exact sequence needed to trigger it, and next time he was waiting for his girlfriend (who happened to work for said phone vendor), to come out for lunch, he connected Dial a Prayer to their paging system from a lobby phone. An update that fixed the problem came out a bit later.

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Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop

Mike 16
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Nostalgia

My first website (in-company only, for specs and discussion of future architecture) was served by Xitami, ported to IRIX and running on my Indy ("It's an Indigo, without the GO"). Quite nice in retrospect, although SGI (for obvious reasons) tried very hard to be Sun-compatible, yet still mostly POSIX. When a bunch of us took a long lunch to see Jurassic Park, the line that got the second biggest laugh was "This is Unix, I know this", as if "knowing" a vanilla Unix was much help. (The biggest laugh was for the lawyer in the john, of course, with a bronze for "objects in the mirror"...)

I sometimes regret not taking advantage of the opportunity to buy that Indy, being retired, for something like $200. And many years later, I found out that my boss's boss (3 or 4 companies on) was one of the designers of that GUI. Nice person, too.

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Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again

Mike 16
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Teal (the colour) is named for Teal (the bird), at least according to Duck Duck Go, who should know, being family.

As for Coral, I recall several Coral IBM System 360s. Back before Marketing came up with "System 370" and wondered what engineering meant by calling them "System 10"

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German robo-pastor preaches the GNU Testament

Mike 16
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Re: Insert coin, receive blessing.

IIRC, one of the first vending machines was a coin-operated holy-water dispenser:

https://www.arcade-history.com/?n=holy-water-vending-machine&page=detail&id=17048

So maybe during my long career in vending, I should have lit candles to St. Heron. He also designed quite a few mechanical amusements (another big part of my life)

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Mike 16
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No Protestant saints?

So, why is the local Episcopal church named St. Andrews?

That's a serious question, BTW.

I'll agree that _some_ Protestant churches disavow saints, but not all Protestants sects are the same.

Any good source of a "feature checklist" for, say, the top 50 denominations?

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Seminal game 'Colossal Cave Adventure' released onto GitLab

Mike 16
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Random wandering

The version that most impressed me was a cassette-loaded version for the Atari personal computers, which used compression to fit "in core" :-), perhaps as low as 16K.

My own professional development was aided by my work on a mad scheme to adapt the PDP-11 version to run on a 6502, by studying the RT-11 linker and the FORTRAN runtime library. The RT-11 FORTRAN compiler used threaded code, so it was not _entirely_ mad to link the "object" file with a native-6502 replica of the PDP-11 runtime. My manager got wind of it and forecefully expressed his opinion of this use of my time, although the knowledge of compiler and linker internals gained was "relevant to business".

Then a friend who knew of this endeavor asked if I could help porting to COBOL for the Data General "Eagle", as their (engineering) management was distressed that the productivity in the "engineering" side of the house was lagging that in the "business" side, for some reason. That project was even more quickly squashed when _his_ manager got wind of it. SIgh.

Now, if someone wants to contribute a restorable IBM 1407 to the Computer History Museum, maybe my next attempt should be 1401 assembly.

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DARPA orders spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days

Mike 16
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Let's just hope

they don't re-use the solid rocket tech of the shuttles. Orrin Hatch is, after all, still quite powerful in the Senate.

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Chinese e-tailer beats Amazon to the skies with one-ton delivery drones

Mike 16
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Re: Don't worry

What about the rest of the catalog?

http://www.acme.com/catalog/acme.html

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