* Posts by Mike 16

622 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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Today in bullsh*t AI PR: Computers learn to read as well as humans (no)

Mike 16
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Which border?

Sounds like the test would be a bit like Sister Mary Discipline, who would ding you (perhaps literally) for using a slightly different (but valid) word order, or even for not pausing the precise amount of time she associated with a comma in the One True Answer from the Catechism.

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Now Meltdown patches are making industrial control systems lurch

Mike 16
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Tailored Compilers?

I keep seeing variants of this, but I have to wonder how we get all the malware writers to use compilers that prevent code that exploits Meltdown (or Rowhammer, or various others over the years) from being developed. "When non-gimmicked compilers are outlawed..."

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Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

Mike 16
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Two options next to each other...

@ecofeco:

---

I have used so many interfaces like this. To exact opposite commands right next to each other. Really bad design.

---

And you forgot "Running on an OS or browser that regularly twitches the mouse pointer (or maybe shifts focus to an entirely different window) just as you click".

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Mike 16
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Re: time to shelve the development standards

Red Button/Blue Button?

And when you get a color-blind operator?

BTW: Has the news not percolated yet? They knew they had screwed up in about 3 minutes, but there was no "Oops, that was a mistake, stand down" message in the system, and they had to wake up a programmer to enter the text (and some sort of template, and maybe rebuild the message database...) before they could "publish". That took 15-30 minutes.

Yes, that totals to more than the numbers given in the article. Here in the US the times reported were 3 minutes to "Oops".. 38 minutes to "All clear" actually broadcast.

Maybe one of those "US using old-school minutes while UK uses metric?

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PC lab in remote leper colony had wrong cables, no licences, and not much hope

Mike 16
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Uses for AOL CDs

A friend made himself a nice suit of "fish scale" armor from his collection.

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Heart of darkness: Inside the Osówka underground city

Mike 16
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Speer got a waiver?

IIRC, the use of reinforced concrete was verboten for buildings of the Thousand Year Reich, as it made for ugly ruins after the thousand years (or, 5 years in our own world).

Or was that only for monumental government buildings?

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Teach citizens IoT dangers, engineering students cybersecurity, Uncle Sam suggests

Mike 16
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One request

Could any legislation mandating automatic mandatory updates also include a prohibition of extraneous changes whose purpose is solely to the detriment of the user and benefit of the vendor?

Of course legislatures are pretty good at ignoring their own rules (if any) about "No unrelated riders on must-pass laws", so if the regulated firms "do as government do, not as they say", we are in for bruising time.

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Trump backs push for bumpkin broadband with presidential orders

Mike 16
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Clever Plan

1) Define "broadband" in terms of "what average people in this area subscribe to". "If all they want" is 56Kbps up, 9000 up, then so be it.

2) Use the death of Net Neutrality to institute "Fast Lanes", So one can, for enough money (if you have to ask, you can't afford it", get "up to" 50Mbps down, 10 up (YMMV, and will probably be lower, just not as low as the schlub next door who can only afford $50/month for his standard line)

3) Profit! (for the monopoly-awarded cable company, plus some backhanders)

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Boffins use inkjets to print explosives

Mike 16
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Ebay, or Amazon? Re: This might not bode well

A friend ordered some fine Al powder for use in paint, and Amazon popped up that "People who bought this item also bought" Fine iron oxide powder. (They also suggested glassine envelopes and blue rock candy when he bought a hazmat suit just before All Souls day...)

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Woo-yay, Meltdown CPU fixes are here. Now, Spectre flaws will haunt tech industry for years

Mike 16
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Re: Insider trading

Sure, Martha did time, but if she had had the insight to transition to "Marty" she may not have been prosecuted at all.

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Qualcomm joins Intel, Apple, Arm, AMD in confirming its CPUs suffer hack bugs, too

Mike 16
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Last word from Apple?

IIRC, there was an announcement (or _reported_ announcement), that Apple would also patch previous versions of MacOS/OSX, back to the non-EOLed 10.11. Then that was removed/redacted/"never happened. Get with the program, Winston".

Are they (still) planning on doing that, someday, or does the Mac user who would rather not face the dumpster fire that has been the 10.13 rollout now face the choice of that or Meltdown/Spectre.

"Do you feel _lucky_?"

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the data centre temp's delightful

Mike 16
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Re: 100mph

(First off: Vincent, Hoorah! One customer of mine had a Comet, not even a Shadow or Prince, and I was mightily jealous )

Back when I was gainfully employed (in Silicon Valley), there were occasions it seemed that I would not hit 100 meters/hour on the "expressways".

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FBI tells Jo(e) Sixpack to become an expert in IoT security

Mike 16
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Pray they update?

And don't forget to pray that none of those updates don't introduce backdoors of their own.

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Los Angeles police tell drivers not to trust navigation apps as wildfires engulf area

Mike 16
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Re: Modern systems

There's your scenario for the 3rd version of "The Italian Job": Snarl traffic in Venice by hacking the system to claim the Grand Canal is on fire (Sadly believable, even if Benny Hill is unavailable to do the hacking)

As for Finland, this "Not a country" thing is obviously just the raving of someone disgruntled because when they looked for Tom's of Finland they ended up at Tom's of Maine (or maybe Tom's Hardware).

If there was no Finland, who was flying those Brewster Buffalos against the Soviets, with help from the Luftwaffe?

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Yes, Britain has an urban-rural 4G schism. This is what it looks like

Mike 16
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Thousands of British mobile sheds!

I came here to find out more about them, and why they are lighting something or other.

Sad.

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Something weird to deck the Xmas tree with: 3D-printed Wi-Fi baubles

Mike 16
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45bps?

Crikey! If they can up that by 1% they'll be able to communicate to a WWI (or older) Teletype(tm) machine.

(They are also nearly all mechanical)

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La La La, I can't hear you: FCC responds to net neut concerns

Mike 16
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Joke

We'll build a wall,

I beautiful wall, around these whiners' internet connection, And we will make them pay for it.

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Linus Torvalds 'sorry' for swearing, blames popularity of Linux itself

Mike 16
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Re: So drink wasn't involved then? - Drink isn't involved now!

More like anti-immigrant (Irish, Italian, German) fervor. "The right people" could get booze with no problems throughout. They could (and did) even get non-poisonous booze, unlike those who played whack-a-mole with the escalating "denaturant" efforts of the feds.

All of which strays a bit afield of the Linux developer discussion. Sorry.

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Baaa-d moooo-ve: Debian Linux depicts intimate cow-sheep action in ASCII artwork

Mike 16
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Over 18?

IIRC typical Penguin lifespan is 15-20 years. So that would have to be an elderly "actor" (model?)

OK, Tux himself was apparently "born" in 1996 (This is why we have Wikipedia, right?), so is beating the odds (or maybe something else in his classic seated pose, but it's hard to tell in typical ASCII-Art resolution)

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AT&T wants to bin 100,000 routers, replace them with white boxes

Mike 16
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Doing time with AT&T

I'm curious which incarnation. Post consent-decree, some Baby-Bells (apologies to La Vache Qui Rit) maintained a level of service that was quite good, while others were at best surly about responding to complaints, and at worst outright fraudulent in re. SLAs and the like. Then, as any student of capitalism would predict, the worst of the worst saved so much money by skimping on maintenance and infrastructure (unlike those dolts who remembered they had customers to serve, even if most customers had little choice), that they were able to buy up all the others. Friends of mine who worked for one acquired Telco referred to their new overlords as Sodomized By Cowboys.

Anyway, this sterling example of Free Enterprise eventually bought the husk of AT&T, and switched to that name. When a company changes its name to one whose logo was commonly referred to as The Death Star, you know even they recognize their image problem.

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Then there were four: Another draft US law on 'foreign' (aka domestic) mass spying emerges

Mike 16
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About?

When I AltaVista'd (look it up, youngsters) my not-very-common name back around the turn of the millennium, I found 4 others mentioned on the web. A bit later, I was contacted by a young lady looking for the "me" who had been her boyfriend while he was a sailor. I was also called by the irate father of a girl who was out past her curfew with "my" son ( was then childless). Does any mention of any of these folks sharing my name make me fair game as well?

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US govt to use software to finger immigrants as potential crims? That's really dumb – boffins

Mike 16
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Re: Do it! Do it!

@archtech:

There is a definite upside to this. The people in ICE who are proposing this plan ought to be charged with implementing it. That is, they personally should be made to write the software and test it, until they have ironed out all the bugs and demonstrated that it works reliably as described.

-----

You are assuming that none of them have a middle-school age niece or nephew to tell them about Stack Overflow, whereupon their work will be essentially what the hired amoral minions would have produced.

As for "testing"? with vague enough criteria anything will pass. Well , maybe some things will change. After all, a stopped clock is right twice a day, but a smartwatch with a dead battery...?

Keep in mind that e.g. an implementation of nanosleep() that _never_ returns complies with the spec. and the spec for this job will be a tad more complex.

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US authorities swallow security-free script for pill that knows when you're off your meds

Mike 16
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It's a budget thing

A lot cheaper to have this sort of pharmaceutical ankle-monitor than to actually build enough "mental hospitals" to accommodate all the dissidents, er psychotics. Probably the one bit of subsidized "health care" left standing.

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Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

Mike 16
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Re: CompuServe's minicomputers?

Did I miss one of the transitions, or are you seriously calling PDP-10s (and successors by various names, but 36bit "serious computers" by most standards) "minicomputers"? Ever tried to lift one? (Which reminds me to ask if any TOADs shipped)

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How did someone hijack your Gmail? Phishing, keylogger or password reuse, we're guessing

Mike 16
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Re: VPN

Hmmm, when I use a VPN, Google sends me yet another "Someone is Using Your Password" 2FA message. Or is that a phish itself? Hard to tell, but the last "legit as far as I can tell" message had a helpful map of just where the miscreant was operating, a mere 180 miles from where the connection actually exited the VPN. Sigh.

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History shows why geeks will never, ever, ever... get along

Mike 16
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Re: Usenet

Depended on the group. Most of comp.* was remarkably flame-free, with exceptions like comp.lang.c until comp.lang.c++ siphoned off most of the foamites. I'll admit that the war of the cancelbots (one of which nearly shut down a main transatlantic link) and the newsgroup creation wars (Seriously, folks, comp.lang.intercal was OK but comp.lang.cobol was beyond the pale?) were flame-ish, but nothing like soc.* and some neighborhoods of alt.* Much like the physical world. Know your neighborhoods.

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Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support

Mike 16
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Re: Many Years Ago

--- The IBM 1301 we built from scrap at school in, what, '71 had cores on barn doors. Re-read the "scrap" part. ---

How much core would a disk drive have had, then? ( OK, the original 5Meg RAMAC (IBM 350) had a sector buffer of IIRC 100 characters, (possibly in the 305 CPU, rather than the 350 disk drive) but it also had tubes/valves. ) And how much memory (built of discrete transistors) would the 1900 (ICL, aka Ferranti FP6000?)) have had? I can imaging a fair bit of "register" memory built with transistors, but "store" made that way (in 1964) would have been prohibitively expensive.

Just curious... (and exercising my pedant neurons while waiting for my ride on a rainy day :-)

My own recollection is the semiconductor memory was _available_ in the mid/late 1960s, but was not all that _affordable_ until the mid/late 1970s. Some folks care about cost. (and reliability, which for affordable DRAM was an early issue, while SRAM was yet more expensive).

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Qualcomm sues Apple for allegedly blabbing smartphone chip secrets in emails CC'd to Intel

Mike 16
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Strongarming Intel?

--- so Qualcomm has a heck of a better chance of strong arming Apple than it does Intel. ---

I seem to recall that Intel StrongArmed itself back in the day, by tossing the DEC-designed StrongArm to Marvell (Galileo?), since they only really bought the DEC husk to strangle Alpha. I mean, how much of a threat to Chipzilla's dominance could something like Arm be?

Also reminds me of SGI's genius move of flogging the Sarc-based Cray's to Sun, thus kick-starting the Sun competition to SGI's own Super.

I think Milo Minderbinder is working for a MegaCorp these days.

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Robot granted Saudi citizenship has more rights than Saudi women

Mike 16
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Can she vote?

Serious question, as I know little about which classes/genders/whatever are allowed to vote, there but one thing most places have is an age requirement. As very few computers are very functionanl by 10 or 15 years, how likely is Sophia (Wisdom?) to be able to make a cogent choice 5-10 years into her dotage?

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AI bot rips off human eyes, easily cracks web CAPTCHA codes. Ouch

Mike 16
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AI

I have to wonder if "Kids these days" even get the bit at the beginning of The Loved One where Dennis Barlow (Robert Morse) claims his occupation is "AI Donor".

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FYI: iOS apps can turn on your camera any time without warning

Mike 16
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stayed on for 2 weeks and my phone bill was...."

Doesn't take two weeks. Back in the early 1970s a classmate called his brother in Belgium (I have no idea why his brother chose Belgium for his year abroad, but there it is), talked for a while, then both left their phones off hook as they went about their days, chatting again on and off. After 24 hours and a few minutes, they hung up. When the bill came, originating brother (in California) protested to The Phone Company that this was clearly a fault in their billing system as "Who would call Belgium for a whole day?". He agreed that he had made a "few minute" call, but not recall precisely how long. They removed the entire charge and I assume had some poor technician fruitlessly chasing down the "real cause".

All of which has nothing to do with mobile cameras, but as an illustration that "weird stuff happens" (sometimes on purpose), and has been for many years. If you have ever lent out a physical key to anybody, you should assume they made a copy and act appropriately (which may mean just get on with life) Your (and only your) task is to decide what is appropriate. (I use a camera-less flip phone with a removable battery, but that's me)

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What’s the real point of being a dev? It's saving management from themselves

Mike 16
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Re: Nice One...

The difference can boil down to the sort of case where a developer, on their own time, noodles around with a "Plan B", because mgmt's Plan A is clearly bollocks, and when the wail "The sky is falling and we have two weeks to get this right or we shut the doors" goes out, a diving catch with the "hobbiest" Plan B saves the day. The alternative, when I thought that the architecture astronauts must clearly have a handle on what looked like a risky practice, because mahogany row had so much faith in them, so I stuck to my assigned tasks, did in fact result in closing the doors.

You're not being insolent when you do what you are paid to do while being paid to do it, but build an emergency exit on your own. Several companies I have worked at actually encouraged employee exploration, often with company materials and even some portion of the work week.

BTW, in Re 4GLs. I just ran across an FARGO manual on bitsavers. For those not already spending their pension, this grew up into RPG. Designed to allow folks with extensive experience on plugboard-programmed electro-mechanical accounting machines, but none with those new-fangled computers, to use the IBM1401. The "You don't need to be a programmer" notion has been a thing for some time. So has the "You don't need any domain knowledge, just a C.S. degree" notion, to be fair.

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YouTube sin-bins account of KRACK WPA2 researcher

Mike 16
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In Range

AFAICT, one does not have to be "in range" personally. One only need by in _control_ of a device with WiFi, that is in range. There are _many_ WiFi access points "in range" as I type this, and probably significantly more phones/computers/IoT-thingies. The odds that _one_ of them is under the control of some miscreants halfway around the world may be non-negligible.

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Didn't install a safety-critical driverless car patch? Bye, insurance!

Mike 16
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Re: Separate safety updates from everything else.

That was my first concern. If the manufacturers are like those of phones or computers, one can bet that a "critical Security update" will also include some "feature" whose purpose is to either force an upgrade (i.e. replacement) or otherwise monetize the user. Maybe pause in front of every fast-food outlet that has a co-branding agreement and suggest that "Now would be a great time for a Whopper(tm)". Or more subtly, make music streaming services that have not paid up mysteriously unreliable.

And of course, once cars are chatting among each other, you'll be offered the ability to bid against all others in the vicinity to not be the target in the event of a "Trolley-car problem" occurring.

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

Mike 16
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Re: OTA TV

The new (since ATSC switchover) definition of "fringe area" is apparently "50 km from city center". Yes, I can get OTA from over 200km, often, but only in some directions, and lost quite a few local stations at the switchover. Who could have guessed that hills could attenuate signal?

I also have to wonder if the new-new standard will fix the often horrendous skew between video and audio. I first noticed it on an analog TV, during the dual-standard period. Figured out that while the local-transmitter -> TV path was analog, the networks had taken to digital transmission from network to local station. I am still baffled why, 90(?) years after Western Electric introduced sound-on-film, the boffins at Digital R' Us can't keep sound within a few seconds of picture. Some films seem to have been badly dubbed from English to English (Both cable-QAM and OTA, BTW, so it's presumably a problem in constructing the stream)

"Better Compression" will also presumably mean more situations where a line across the screen and a tick of sound (analog) gets turned into muted audio and a picture in the witness protection progam for several seconds (at a crucial plot-point, of course) .

Yeah, I'm old. Old enough to remember when CATV was becoming a thing, and political battles about actual communities versus private industry featured arguments about how the private path would lead to vast amounts of quality programming and no commercials, at a nominal fee. How's that working out?

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Night out in London tonight: Beer, Reg and platform wars

Mike 16
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Groups and strife

(Religious division) I'll just leave this here:

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2005/sep/29/comedy.religion

(is it OK here to admit to reading the Grauniad? Honest, I only look at the articles)

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They've only gone and made a chemical-threat-detecting ring

Mike 16
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Probably illegal to wear

In any parts of the U.S. that have outlawed photography of environmental hazards on private property and reporting to environmental authorities.

Now that the EPA is being re-purposed, this can only spread. What you don't know, you can't talk about, and what you don't talk about, you can't get arrested and beaten for.

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It's 2017... And Windows PCs can be pwned via DNS, webpages, Office docs, fonts – and some TPM keys are fscked too

Mike 16
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VN Blaming.

Von Neumann gets both too much credit ("accidentally" circulating a group report with only his name) and too much blame. For two reasons:

1) The machine described in the (in)famous paper was to an extent "tagged". That is, each word had a bit (the setting of which was left as an exercise to the reader, but was part of the program loading process) to distinguish instructions from data. Not some modern sort of "throw an exception far enough up that the code that finally catches it knows sod-all about the context", but "If you store to an instruction, only allow the address part to be modified" and "If you execute data, treat it as a 'load immediate'". Instruction modification was needed because B-Boxes had not yet been invented in the UK, nor (as index registers) patented by IBM in the US.

2) Even doing a stronger separation of code and data (e.g. the NX bit fixing the elision of segment-based control on the way to pages) gets you only so far. Your JVM may be immutable code, but it will be interpreting "data" (byte-codes) from who knows where, manipulating other data, probably all in one bit-soup "for efficiency".

If you want _real_ separation, look into the Fairchild Symbol Computer. Even the compiler was "hardware".

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Blade Runner 2049 review: Scott's vision versus Villeneuve's skill

Mike 16
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A bit of a rebirth?

You mean like that experienced by Abbie Normal in Young Frankenstein?

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FCC gives Google's broadband balloons 'experimental license' in Puerto Rico

Mike 16
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Re: Uh oh

-- the outfit that told the world it should get over not having any privacy --

IIRC, that was Sun (well, McNealy). But hey, if the web isn't good for revisionism, what is it good for?

Probably several tech leaders have said similar, or at least had it attributed to them. Still waiting for Palantir to speak up, but suspect they won't. Just like the guys boasting most about their conquests are not really getting it, and vice versa.

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Dumb bug of the week: Apple's macOS reveals your encrypted drive's password in the hint box

Mike 16
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Upgrade?

I think you have a typo there. It's possibly an upDATE, but I haven't gotten an upGRADE from Apple in years. Sideways occasionally,. Downwards way too often. But _UP_? Not so much.

(Not to be ungrateful for the bug-fixes, but I really wish they wouldn't bundle them with even more bugs)

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There's a way to dodge Fasthosts' up-to-160% domain renewal hike but you're not gonna like it

Mike 16
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Re: Fasthosts.. meh.

Pestering for card details years after you left? Sounds like GoDaddy's behavior toward me. I wonder who copied who. As for "Just Move", I have never used Fasthosts, but experience with other registrars and hosting companies leads me to expect you should block out some time on your calendar and be prepared to be reminded of the Petshop sketch (The admin server is currently pining for the fjords...)

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Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Mike 16
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Re: 600,000 in 100 years

First off, I'd suggest that any such enthusiastic male volunteers first watch

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/

Also a "fan out" of 10 may be both impractical and illegal (depending on jurisdiction)

http://loweringthebar.net/2008/09/man-with-86-wiv.html

But above all, human nature and emotions are unlikely to continue this for long, and while the sponsors might be paying your way outbound, the return ticket is your problem.

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Power meltdown 'fries' SourceForge, knocks site's servers titsup

Mike 16
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Re: Same everywhere

And for years, apparently. I recall reading a similar "fuel pump not on the right side of UPS" story in Lessons Learned (or not) from the (1965) Great Northeast (US) Blackout. Also similarly about a sump-pump in one hospital being considered "not critical", at least until seepage from the nearby river rose to the level needed to short out the generator in the basement.

OTOH, there were rumors of a surge of births nine months later, although it's hard to imagine losing access to SourceForge and /. would have that effect.

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So. Should I upgrade to macOS High Sierra?

Mike 16
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Re: 1 nanosecond?

1 nanosecond precision does not imply 1 nanosecond accuracy, as those of us who got marked down for having unjustifiably more significant digits in out lab results knew. See also: laughing at Spock's reporting of probabilities.

IIRC IBM's System 360 (1965) specified a higher resolution than the clock speed of any model at the announcement. Each model added the appropriate number of "ticks" for each actual timer update.

As previously mentioned, "make" really wants precise time-stamps. Also accurate ones. A build cluster with large NetApp storage array was the bane of my existence some years back. I always wonder if some of the problem being that NetApp were the only folks I knew to keep "Spread Spectrum Clock" enabled in the BIOS after passing RFI tests.

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Want to keep in contact with friends and family without having to sell your personal data?

Mike 16
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Photo Frame Redux?

Or post-dialup Audrey?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3Com_Audrey

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Sputnik-1 replica used to test the real thing goes under the hammer

Mike 16
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reentry

The reentry problem can be mitigated by not re-entering, or by "doing your thing" before the heat builds up too much. I have seen speculation that the happy-talk about NK: "They may have rockets and warheads but they haven't solved reentry" is too optimistic, ignoring the altitudes where EMP can be effective. Why turn Silicon Valley into a glassy plain when you can just hobble all the electronics on the west coast? (I'm guessing that Rocketman has the same attitude about that area that POTUS does, so that's my assumed target)

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Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!

Mike 16
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So many memories

1) An employer had pretty much every Windows machine in one (literally globe-spanning) domain, with a password consisting of the company name and some numbers in an easily recognized sequence (because best practices require changing it periodically...) "network neighborhood" took several minutes to populate.

2) Another employer had a handy feature for any Windows user who occasionally had to log into the Unix systems. Complete with a drop-down menu of all the usernames, and no password needed (Because SSH is secure, right?). "Who do you want to be today?"

3) Offices with windows (The real sort)? Not me. At yet another employer, those went to the folks who made the concept drawings (literally, on paper) for presentations of upcoming products. On the ground floor, next to public parking, drawing boards facing out for the best natural light.

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Mike 16
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password is secret

Happened to me. Bought some surplus industrial-control systems (Idris. Ask grandpa). Had to call the vendor to get the root password. yep.

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FCC taps the brakes on fudging US broadband speed amid senator fury

Mike 16
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Re: 600 baud down, 200 up.

Now that's crazy talk.

Very few serial ports (or USB serial adapters) made in the last decade or so will go down to 200. Something about using 16-bit clock dividers instead of the 20 (24?) on the original IBM PC, and making it sorta work with a (usually fixed) pre-scaler.

Or are you envisioning a special WiFi box from your ISP that just throttles the crap out of connections?

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