* Posts by Al 4

47 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

Senator probes NASA airfield deal for Google's jets

Al 4


Being a government base I wonder what kind of oversight and airplane inspections take place like would occur at a commercial airport when planes have been taking overseas trips. Who knows what kinds of items they could be smuggling in and out of the country.

Stratfor slaps website back online after Anon mega-hack

Al 4

Party doesn't matter

The party of the members of both the House and Senate don't matter, just if they're in favor of the draconian SOPA and PIPA measures. Trouble is most of those charged would probably want them to keep the donations.

Quanta sues AMD over dodgy chips

Al 4

Chinese tripping up Taiwan?

Sounds to me like maybe they got a batch of counterfeit Chinese chips. Or these were rejected chips that instead of being destroyed were package for sale to an unsuspecting company.

Santa's Xmas Caper

Al 4


Does anyone remember the version of Lemmings called Christmas Lemmings? Everything was done in a winter/Christmas theme. To me a lot of those older games were more fun because the games were challenging thinking games instead of the newer ones that seem to concentrate more on the graphics.

US spy drone hijacked with GPS spoof hack, report says

Al 4

Civilian GPS receivers

First of all what was encrypted but now isn't is SA. What SA (selective availability) is, is the wobble of the satellite in orbit. Even though a satellite is in a fixed orbit it wobbles in space. Since your position is calculated using no less than three satellites (four if you need attitude) the compounded wobble of the satellites is what causes the error in position. The reason civilian receivers don't work at high speeds, besides there being laws against US companies selling them that work at high speeds, is the cost involved with processing power needed to calculate the signal changes at high speed. Also the antennas for high speeds are not like the ones that operate at low speeds. All receivers use the same information it was only the availability of the corrections information that has changed.

When it comes to differential GPS there are two methods. The one most people know about involves a base station that knows where it is located and can calculate the satellite wobble and transmit that information to the roving one. The second version involves a single GPS receiver with enough channels to handle processing the information from several antennas at the same time. Because it is a geometry calculation each antenna receives slightly different signal timing information from a satellite. By doing some matrix calculations on the data the wobble can be calculated real time for each satellite. Aircraft have an easier time doing these type of calculations because the satellite constellation is not obscured by items close to the horizon that block the signal. The better the satellite geometry (spacial positions) the better the calculations that can be performed. The differential GPS class I took about 10 years ago was taught by one of the system creators. In the test he and his students performed they attached several antennas to an airplane and then flew the airplane around before doing the post processing on the data collected (this was before the civilian receivers we have today which can process the data real time). they couldn't figure out what an error they were seeing in the data was until they realized that it was actually measuring the yaw of the wings where two antenna were located.

Spoofing is done using devices call pseudolites which are also located sometimes around airports to provide ground based GPS information for landing purposes since the satellite geometry, and precision, is worse the closer you get to the ground due to signal interfering items (the geometry of the tracked satellites determines the accuracy of your position). The newer surveying grade receivers are being made that not only use the GPS but the GLONASS constellation as well to provide better world wide geometry. For ground based location you only need 3 satellites in good position for attitude positioning you need at least 4 in good positions.

Al 4

Differential GPS made SA moot

The need for SA in precision GPS devices, i.e. those used in surveying and for other civilian purposes, were made moot through the use of differential GPS, which can provide centimeter level accuracy without the need for any of the previously encrypted information. It is only the low cost GPS receivers that need to make use of SA to provide a higher level of accuracy because they only use one antenna and not multiple to triangulate and calculate the correct location.

Microsoft gives up on proprietary 2D barcode, accepts NFC

Al 4

Color is bad

One thing I learned years ago when it comes to something that needs to be easily decoded, color is bad if it is exposed to sunlight since it will change color values into unknown color values based on the types of pigments used in the color. Black will just turn into a gray but until it fades completely won't be white.

Cryptoboffin: Secure boot a boon for spooks' spyware

Al 4
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In circuit emulators

In circuit emulators will enable anyone that wants to, to get the boot information since they operate outside the system. It will be just a matter of time before these "Keys" are being sold to virus writers and other nefarious types. With an authentication system in place and the viruses being authenticated to the systems as a friend it will be much easier to infect machines with the OS welcoming them with open arms.

Microsoft bans all plugins from touchable IE10

Al 4

Plug-ins the reason I don't use IE

Flash blocking and other plug-ins are the reason I use FF. The last thing I want is some add screaming when I visit a web site for research purposes. I like being able to keep the sound on, on my PC so I can hear the warning beeps and other acknowledgments. It's the same reason I turn the sound off during commercials cause I don't want to listen to their annoyance at an elevated volume.

Aussie Sex Party takes the whip to .xxx domains

Al 4

Organized crime orginazitaion

It's been said for a long time that organized crime elements have moved into main stream business. This sound like the typical strong arm tactics of s criminal organization. Perhaps news organizations should be looking into the politicians that support this and their ties to and support of organized crime syndicates.

Facebook deletes hacked Pages, destroying years of work

Al 4

Getting rid of undesired accounts

Sounds like the best way to get rid of accounts/pages you want to get rid of but don't really have a legitimate reason to do so. Assign the rights to someone else or possibly even nobody so the only recourse is to have the original owner work to get rid of their own page and possibly limit what they are capable of doing again. I'd be curious to know if this occurs more on new or older accounts.

BBC explains 'All your Twitter pics are belong to us' gaffe

Al 4

Australian law

Does Australian law follow UK law? The reason I ask is the Australian government a while back shut down a site that was scraping pics of women off Facebook and showing them on their site. Wouldn't this mean that the BBC is doing the same thing and should be shut down?

Microsoft COO: Our greatest enemy is old Windows

Al 4
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Hardware accessories unsupported by Windows 7

I'm expected to upgrade all my hardware to run the new operating system. Why because the manufacturer of the hardware accessories want to sell me new versions that will run wit the new Windows operating system even though there is nothing wrong with the USB connected hardware just that they don't see a reason to develop new drivers for the new OS (i.e. HP and others don't make money off old hardware). I can't justify spending over 10k just to upgrade hardware so I can use the new version of Windows when everything works just fine for me.

Google: Go public on Profiles or we'll delete you

Al 4

Easy answer

The answer is easy how to do it, just do what they do, be ambiguous and if that doesn't work lie.

Do we really want 100Gig Ethernet?

Al 4

Buss speed verses processor speed

I remember when 12mhz mother boards because available and I was asked why I wanted a 10mhz motherboard for the server I was putting together rather than a 12mhz one. My response which puzzled them was the 12mhz motherboard only has a 4mhz buss speed while the 10 has a 5. I/O speed. This was the most important thing for a server along with memory for caching since the slower processor actually provided a higher throughput. Since networks are shared on the server side the higher the bandwidth the better individual throughput will be when accessing the server. The the only bottleneck will be how fast the server can service the requests. It will be interesting to see what kind of NIC's and motherboards will be created to deal with the higher throughput needs of a faster network.

FBI fat-thumbs data centre raid

Al 4

FBI trying to kill US cloud computing centers

Another reason why putting your data in the hands of another company is a bad idea. Wonder how many companies might bite the dust because of the FBI's inconsiderate tactics and how much US tax payers might wind up paying as the results of lawsuits by affected companies. This is a good reason for companies to consider just where they off site data to the clouds. FBI stupidity like this might just keep the US from being a major player in cloud computing. Hopefully the more details on how many companies were affect will be published when it becomes available.

US proposes online IDs for Americans

Al 4

Password length and characters allowed mandate would be better

It would be better in my opinion to require all sites that require passwords to allow the use of characters other than just a - z either case and the numbers 0 - 9 and at least a 32 character length that is utilized and not cut off internally because their system can't deal with longer passwords. I taught my kids how to use and create long, unique, cryptic and easy to remember paraphrase passwords for sites that allow them. When friends are around when they are entering them in they will often comment on the length of their passwords. They also realize how hard it is for someone to figure out what your password is watching over your shoulder when your fingers are moving all over the keyboard to catch the 20+ keys that you use. The last password system that I worked on allowed passwords up to 64 characters in length and all but a couple of the UNICODE characters. Besides my kids the others I've shown agree that it is easier to remember a paraphrase password with substitutions than a short cryptic one that most places want and allow.

Google counterattacks MS in US.gov cloud contract row

Al 4

Cloud location

As I remember the big thing the DOI had issues with was the location of the software running their mail system. The DOI wanted it to ALL be on their site without their mail having to travel through some outside site as I understand. Does this mean that Google will be providing this kind of mail system software now?

BBC accused of coming out for porn opt-in?

Al 4

Bigotry and hatred

Does this mean that religious organizations will be paying for education on racial bias and bigotry and the problems they cause for society since they're the ones that seem to promote it?

Catalans to hunt wild boar with bows and arrows

Al 4

Conservation hunting

The cities around here have deer population problems and they use bow hunters to thin the herds due to the lack of natural predators (although we have been having more lion sightings and them occasionally eating the family pet). Of course you have those that don't want Bambi hunts, but most agree that this is the safest way to hunt them in populated areas and avoid traffic accidents. In the large parks they will sometimes use guns to hunt but not in neighborhood areas.

Pirates: Good for Microsoft, great for open sourcers

Al 4

Free software sells hardware

Years ago I worked for a hardware manufacturer and we gave away the software that was used to operate the hardware they sold. Since we weren't the only one that sold the same hardware you could use our software on a competitors version of the hardware. However since there wasn't that much of a difference in the retail price of the hardware, the advantage to purchasing ours verses the competitors was the fact that support and shipped updates for the first year were included. We even had a black market competitor modify the interface of our software to look different. The software actually because one of the main selling points for the hardware. And we had customers that wanted the older version even when newer software was available for the hardware, much to the hatred of the sales and marketing department, because of its ease of use and reliability in doing the tasks most people wanted.

Custom ICs in small numbers to be cheap as (normal) chips

Al 4

Modular chips

This will make the creation of custom modular chips easier. Yes some will create the chips from scratch but a lot will be created from modular components. Want 2k of AD sampling? 10MB of EEPROM? Lots of I/O pins for parallel data sampling with ESD protection? These types of customized chips will most likely be the first ones created. Instead of having multiple chips to provide the functionality you need, now you'll only have one. True single chip products.

Top CEOs agree: US is down the crapper

Al 4

Too expensive to be an engineer

I mentor a FIRST robotics team and so discuss engineering with the kids I work with. Most of the brightest kids I know that would make great engineers want nothing to do with it. Why the education costs too much for what you get back. Instead they want to be lawyers or other jobs where they feel they can make the money back faster than in engineering. Just recently I remember reading how colleges were racing the price for engineering degrees. If anything this country should make those the lowest costing along with general practitioners and teachers. If you want students with degrees in certain fields you don't make it more expensive and harder to get you make it cheaper and easier to get. That is of course for the students that do their work and not want just a free education ride. This is why towns are sponsoring doctors in the Midwest these days. In return for helping to pay the doctors education they get a doctor for a number of years. This creates a situation where they re more likely to stay because they don't graduate with a large burden of debt.

South African wireless traffic lights pillaged by SIM-card thieves

Al 4

Ban off the shelf parts

This is one case wheher off the shelf parts shouldn't be used. If there is enough of a need for these cards and it sounds like there is then a special version should be created that is totally incompatible with any phone (different voltage requirement, pin-out, shape, etc.) and they should be restricted as to what kinds of functionality they offer. This is a case of the manufacturer doing things on the cheap where in this case it hurt the purchaser of their product.

Canadian teen charged with school board hack

Al 4

Can the staff

The problem is the ones that should be canned will try and have the strongest charges applied to try and make it look like they're doing something about a problem that wouldn't/shouldn't have existed in the first place if it wasn't due to their incompetence.

Competitors seek killer application for Bluetooth Low Energy

Al 4

Star Trek monitoring

Actually Bluetooth sensors in the hospital makes sense these days, at least in the last hospital I stayed in about 3 years ago since each patient had a tablet PC outside their room that was used to record patient information on instead of a tablet of paper charts. It would allow them to do better monitoring (i.e. continuous) and catch subtle changes that could occur and possibly be missed if things are only recorded when a nurse takes the measurements.

Baby Boomers committing suicide at unprecedented rates

Al 4

Unemployment a big factor

There was an article in the NY Times titled "Older Unemployed Struggle to Rejoin the Work Force", http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/business/economy/20older.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=For%20the%20Unemployed%20Over%2050&st=Search, refers to them as the new poor. Out of work, untrained for jobs that haven't been shipped overseas, pensions raided by Wall Street, and having to take jobs like greeters at Wallmart or worse and an average unemployed spell of 37 weeks and getting larger. This is a group that is seriously depressed. These are the ones that are committing suicide in numbers due to a bleak future. There may be other factors but this is the biggest I know of. It's also the group that politicians should be careful of because most I know still vote and aren't happy with either party.

Nothing succeeds like XSS

Al 4
Big Brother

Great Add-on

The best way I know to prevent Google from running scripts on your machine whenever you visit a site. If you really do need the scripts to run, do like I do and exit the browser flushing cashed information even in the hidden areas (if you use BetterPrivacy) and then restart and temporarily allow the Google site(s) to work. Once done with Google revoke temporary permissions or exit and restart the program (best) and Google can't follow what you're doing. This is what I do when I have to use the mail system of the college I'm attending.

Google patents search that tracks your mouse moves

Al 4

Don't let Google know what you're doing!

This is why I like using Firefox with the No Script add-on which completely disable Google scripts, especially Google-Analytics unless I say it can run.

Aussies face 10 year browsing lock-up

Al 4

Overwhem the system

To counteract this what is needed is a WEB site obfuscator that is a browser add-on that would troll through randomly selected sites to hide the real browsing but would also create such a data logging volume that it would force the government to allow off line storage of the data because of the sheer volume and cost of maintaining the data online. The big problem is that politicians don't have the mental capability to understand the volume of data these moronic ideas would require to be stored.

Canadian mobe firm sued over disappearing husband

Al 4

Avoid bundled serviced

My dad recently had an experience with bundled services that most people don't ever think about. Because he was in an argument with AT&T over payments concerning cable his phone service was restricted as to whom he could call. He could receive all phone calls without problems, just not talk to me a few miles away. The problem was on their end, and he was told it was his responsibility to prove to them he had the canceled check for the bill. Didn't take him long to get his cable switch from his phone provided. They don't think of you as a person just a billing address. In this case they were looking to save a few cents on mailing so they put together all the bills for the same address.

Boffins warn on car computer security risk

Al 4

Perfect way to kill someone

This would provide the perfect way to kill someone because the car manufacturers would spend millions to prove it couldn't be hacked even if it could because the truth would destroy the public's confidence in the manufacturer. After all how many people would be interested in acquiring a program that with a little hardware skill could allow you to cause your ex's (insert type here) vehicle to crash and if you're luck kill them.

Google search piles on pounds of facts to score fat dollar

Al 4

Google doesn't provide information

The problem is their search engine has lost its mind. That is the only reason I can come up with when I type in a search request for particular information that I know is on a page, and it doesn't show up till the third page. Quoting phrases didn't improve things either. At Yahoo it showed up in the middle of the page without quotes, second down with quotes. The first was an article about the data I was searching for on the net. I thought it might have been because I used a Google search box at a site but their own search page gave me the same results. I only did the test because of the results I got on the first search for a known page. I made sure the same arguments were used for both sites in the test.

Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses

Al 4

Admission of guilt?

So is this an admission by Eric Schmidt that Google is a criminal organization since it works hard to hide what it does from public scrutiny and is always claiming they're doing nothing wrong? Quack, quack

UK Gov, and privacy invasion without a safety net

Al 4

Aren't there systems that handle this?

Doesn't Lotus Notes provide the necessary management for this type of data where instead of supplying the data you provide a template and any necessary token tights, and the users rights within the system determines the data the tokens will provide for viewing? That way the data isn't shown to anyone that isn't authorized to view it. I was thinking that was the software a company I used to work for shared inventory, sales and technical information with its distributors.

Wi-LAN throws down Bluetooth patent glove

Al 4

Needed perhaps

Since the DOD has been doing frequency hopping, spread spectrum and other, what some might consider exotic methods of communications, for decades before the patent, they may force the hand of some of the companies involved in those operations and wind up nullifying that patent and perhaps more in their portfolio. One can only hope.

Computer pioneer and Gates mentor Ed Roberts dies

Al 4

FIrst machine I programmed

I wrote my first program on one. I still have the Popular Electronics magazine that the article about the computer along with all you needed to know to build your own. I also remember another article about the fact that the Smithsonian has a reward for the machine displayed in the article, the first one, because it was lost in the return shipment from the Popular Electronics photo shoot.

Computer glitch prompts 50 raids on elderly couple's home

Al 4

DIfferent city same type of problem

The problem is these systems are self populating. Once the data gets entered it gets copied in different ways and unless all those variations are removed then the problem is never solved, because the data will be recreated that caused the raid. Or as in the case of a local couple getting a house they bought off a drug house list.so they quit getting raided. The cops said they hadn't done all the things they needed to to get off the registry and were seeking publicity but the news channel showed that they had done what they were suppose to and so the department was "looking into it" meaning they were working what they can do now to cover their ass.

CIA, PayPal under bizarre SSL assault

Al 4

Smoke screen

Maybe its a smoke screen for the actual attack where this one can trigger a weakness than can allow the launcher access. Perhaps something to do with DOS prevention functionality.

Boffins fight pacemaker hacks with ultrasound security

Al 4

Read the details

From the Medical Device Link web site, "Devices more than 10 meters away would have to complete a series of authentication procedures. Other than in emergency situations (in which any device in close proximity would be granted access), devices trying to access personal data or give commands would basically have to be in the same room with the implantable device user."

10 meters, I'd have issues with authentication farther than 10 mm. 10 meters puts the attacker still two rooms away with full access.

Oz gov suggests world's worst copyright protection scheme

Al 4

Encrypted communications

As I understood it one of the sharing networks was going to be encrypted to prevent just this type of spying. How will they deal with that, ban its use? When I do work from home all communications between my machine and the company network are encrypted. What then ban encrypted communications? I've come to believe a lobotomy is required to be in office these days.

Microsoft at a loss in Word patent case?

Al 4

Swiping from small companies

Microsoft's problem is they like to use technology developed by other companies without paying them for their technology instead forcing them into litigation until the smaller company has to sell out due to legal expenses. This though hasn't always worked for them if anyone remembers the lawsuit against them by a small company named STAC that had developed fast compression software. What we don't know is what MS might have known about this company before hand. Its hard to believe that MS didn't know about the existence of this patent when they were preparing their XML patent.

Mozilla makes rough notes on Firefox 3.6

Al 4

Another noisy program

Hopefully you'll be able to disable any sound making functionality. I need the volume on my speakers set a a level that I can hear when hardware events occur so I can do my job. One of the reasons I use Flashblock is so those annoying adds that want to play automatically at the highest volume level when you visit a site don't. Hopefully as they move towards making it have those massive frames like new MS programs and VIsta have you'll be able to turn it off so that you can have the minimal windows of the "Classic" mode.

Trading Standards calls for online knife sale ban

Al 4

Home made swords, sabers, knives

When I was a kid we use to make all kinds of weaponry from scraps of metal and wood. Never used them on each other, but we did have fun hacking our way through woods and fields and just being generally destructive like kids will be. This will work just as well as the rules against having weapons in prison when it comes to keeping them out of the hands of kids. Most kids I know are magnitudes more street savvy than any politician that I've met and can get a hold of anything quickly and easily that the government bans from them getting.

Germans and Swiss snub DAB

Al 4

Paid Politico's

Do you ever wonder how much the politicians are getting shoved into their back pockets to force stuff on us that nobody really wants? If the radios cannot run for at least a week (not even expecting a month) on one 9 volt battery then the technology is inferior by a magnitude for every day less it can operate.

What I get tired of is having technology changes forced onto us so that a company can make more money on selling us features and functionality that we don't care about and doesn't necessarily work as well as the previous.

Mobile operators question net snoop plan

Al 4

Millions for access

The big problem I see that the ISP's have as a complaint is the way the data is to be stored. The gov wants instant access so they can do all they're searching easily and normally data this type and quantity would be stored near line using tape libraries. If they're required to store all of the information on disks cost is only part of the problem. Can you imagine the power requirements for an ISP to keep a petabyte of data online? Whose to pay for that expense, you that's who. After all this cost will be just a line item on the bill that will keep going up as the need for storage of the data will increase at a rate greater than the decrease in cost for storing it (power isn't getting any cheaper and is only expected to increase as carbon caps come into play).

'Overweight' people live longer than those of 'ideal' weight

Al 4

BMI junk science

When I went in for a physical a while back my doctor basically told me that the BMI is worthless as a guide and said that I was a good example why. At 54 I have a body fat percentage of 8%-9% but my BMI value says that I'm borderline obese because of my weight. So basically the BMI has no relationship to the health of a person which would explain why the BMI claims healthy people are sick and sick people are healthy.


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