* Posts by Chris Gray 1

148 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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Apple, LG, Huawei, ZTE, HTC accused of pilfering 'find my phone' tech

Chris Gray 1
Black Helicopters

Why not Samsung?

I also find it curious that Samsung is not listed - aren't they the largest Android seller? I know there is a Find My Device on my Samsung phone that makes my Samsung watch sound, and vice versa.

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0

You wait ages for a sun, then two come along at once: All stars have twins, say astroboffins

Chris Gray 1

Sol-centric

You're all Sol-centric here, i.e. you are assuming that Sol formed as one of a pair, and then the other flew off. Isn't it equally likely that Sol is the one that "flew off"? In that case, the original system could have had more than 2 new-born stars, and so Sol's closest siblings are still in a multi-star group.

Also, depending on the exact mechanism that results in multiple stars forming in a close group, does it follow that the stars are very close in initial size and density? I would think it would follow that the composition of the stars would be quite similar, so perhaps what astronomers can do is look for nearby stars with similar composition, backdated to the time of formation (i.e. ignoring expected composition changes since then, which might vary depending on the kind of star that they started as).

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O (n^2) Canada! Code bugs knacker buses, TV, broadband, phone lines

Chris Gray 1
Go

didn't notice

I'm in the affected region, and use Shaw for cable TV and internet. I didn't notice anything, and was at this computer for most of the day, then watched the evening news at 6pm. Maybe the 7pm end was some other time zone, or maybe the issue wasn't widespread.

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Well, hot-diggity-damn, BlackBerry's KEYone is one hell of a comeback

Chris Gray 1
Meh

non-replaceable battery

After reading Andrew's article the other day, I searched a bit for the KeyOne. Looks good, except for one big thing - the battery can't be replaced. I'm not a big smart-phone user, so the one I have (my first!), a Samsung S4, is what I'm still using. I wouldn't be using it if I couldn't have replaced the battery when it was dying. I'll spend money on a new phone at some point, but I don't want to be doing it every 2 or 3 years just because the battery dies!

And yes, I do realize I'm not the target demographic.

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2

Stealth-cloaked startup claims to be developing super-fast arrays. How fast? Well...

Chris Gray 1
Go

bypass?

[Note: I used to work in the storage industry, but have been out of touch for 10 years.]

Typically a storage system sits between the consumer machines and the raw disk drives. So, I/O's have to go through buffers in the storage system when going in either direction. That doesn't allow latencies as low as a raw SSD device. So, they must be doing something different. Some thoughts:

Perhaps they have some custom chips that are able to reroute and rewrite I/O requests so that host requests go directly to the appropriate SSD, without having to read the data into storage system memory first. It should also be possible to use those same chips to observe the data going by and buffer it for caching purposes, if that is appropriate.

More custom silicon could perhaps allow them to rewrite, on-the-fly, FibreChannel requests into SATA/whatever requests to the actual disks.

If this is not what they are doing, I'm curious to find out. And if its not, and anyone uses the above to make money, please send some of that money my way - I could use it!

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HP Inc recalls 101,000 laptop batteries before they halt and catch fire

Chris Gray 1
Mushroom

update: site OK

Update: the website is now functional, and it says my specific battery is fine. Awwww....

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Chris Gray 1
Unhappy

site busy

So far, my attempts to connect to HP's indicated website have failed, after waiting several minutes. Of course, this story was reported on the tech site (in)famous for causing referenced sites to get overloaded...

I don't use my laptop enough, and rarely on battery power, to really worry about it, but I wouldn't turn down a free new battery!

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My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Chris Gray 1
Go

non-cooker

To those who insist that we should all be cooking our own meals: I am physically quite able to cook up anything desired. I also have a full kitchen at my disposal. I simply do not enjoy, at all, cooking for myself. That is *not* going to change. Also, when you live by yourself, buying and keeping good fresh food is difficult - you need to fuss with quite small amounts. I average two meals out per week, and otherwise manage to eat fairly healthy on uncooked and prepared food.

But, if you are going to do this, getting decent excercise regularly is *very* important!

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1

Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

Chris Gray 1
Meh

Saved by no support!

In my old place I used to be able to see/hear the TV from the kitchen and dining room. So, when planning a move to this new place, that was a consideration. The only solution that seemed acceptable was to have a TV that could receive over WiFi to show me the evening news. So, a friend and I picked up the cheapest 40" TV with WiFi that we could find in Walmart. It was a Philips smart TV. Little did I know that it didn't actually have a browser, so I couldn't do what I wanted anyway. But, we were able to trace out enough of the ancient in-wall cable to provide it with an input, so that was OK - the local cable company had a sale on cable terminals the day I went looking - about CDN $60 to purchase.

But, I have played with the WiFi connection and its "smartness". After moving my router to give enough signal, the built-in YouTube works OK, and a friend tried his NetFlix account and that works fine too. However "NetTV" shows nothing. The web tells me that Philips does not support an app store for Canada (where I am). So, I'm saved from malware by the manufacturer (presumeably Chinese) not supporting me!

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Dear hackers, Ubuntu's app crash reporter will happily execute your evil code on a victim's box

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Down

Flash video

Okay, El Reg has a fun article about a security issue on Ubuntu. I run Ubuntu, so I should pay attention. But then El Reg plants a Flash video in the middle of the page... Or perhaps that shows up only because I run with Evilscript turned off? Either way, not exactly a good example!

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Canada asks citizens: How would you like us to spy on you?

Chris Gray 1
Meh

Done.

There - I'm a Canuck and just submitted the form. Took waaaay to long, though. I expect my answers would be acceptable to most of the commentards here.

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'Inventor of email' receives damages from Gawker's collapsed empire

Chris Gray 1
FAIL

Definitely earlier than 1978!

BBN were one of the earliest into computers and networking. I'd be surprised if they *didn't* have email of some kind.

At the University of Alberta, the earliest email I recall was "SHOW:MAIL" running on the IBM/Amdahl mainframe under the MTS operating system. I don't know for sure, but I'd put that as first running by the early to mid 1970's. My memory isn't good, but I think the fellow who created the "SHOW" account was named Keith Fenske, and worked for the math department. I assume he wrote the MAIL program.

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Google man drags Emacs into the 1990s

Chris Gray 1
Go

text mode!

I'm with those who run (g)emacs in text mode in an xterm. Don't need no bloody mousey stuff. I do have to fix the dang key bindings so that backspace and DEL work properly. My startup for emacs is this:

#!/bin/sh

xterm -cm -dc -rvc -ulc +bdc -bg "#c09060" -xrm 'XTerm.ttyModes: erase ^?' -e emacs

(And yes, I really do run my xterms with that tan background - I find it much easier on the eyes for long-term use than black on white.)

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RIP Vale Sheri S.Tepper

Chris Gray 1
Unhappy

Another one gone

Dang, they do seem to be dying off.

I've got Awakeners, Beauty and a 6-novel pair of The True Game. I'll have to re-read them when I'm done my current book!

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Finally, that tech fad's over: Smartwatch sales tank more than 50%

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

I like mine

I've had my Samsung Gear 2 Neo for a couple of years now, and will be fairly unhappy if it ever craps out and I can't replace it. I'm not a big phone user, so my phone battery lasts about 4 days (its an old Galaxy S4 with a new battery). So does the watch battery - I charge them both every 4th morning.

What do I use the watch for? I use it to receive texts and phone calls mostly. Saves having to take my phone out of whatever pocket it is stuck in. In the winter, when the phone is in the inside pocket of a parka, I do *not* want to fight to get at the phone to answer it.

I also use the watch's step counter to see how far I go on my daily walks (4500 - 22,000). Every now and then I use it to take my pulse, but that's mostly a curiosity thing. I've heard that continuous pulse taking by fitness watches can bother some folks' skin - mine does it only when you ask it to, which is fine by me.

The Samsung watches *can* be voice controlled, for texting, calling, etc., but they use Samsung's voice recognition and it isn't as good as Google's for me.

The watch shows events from my phone too, and lets me acknowlege them directly. Again, handy when the phone is inconvenient (e.g. on a shelf at the other side of the room).

I have a couple of games on the watch, but rarely use them. Same for the phone.

Folks who say that a smartwatch is useless without having ever used one for a couple of months are doing others, who might get good use out of one, a disservice.

Note that mine does not have its own SIM - it is tied to the mothership by Bluetooth.

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2 in 3 Millennials block ads

Chris Gray 1
Happy

Agree: NoScript

I don't use an adblocker. I *do* block scripts from all but a few sites. I find very few really annoying ads, and with scripts not running, I should be safe from web malware. (Well, plus, I run Linux.) However, I will also admit that I don't visit all that many sites. El Reg is the only media site that I have a login on! Something about the sense of whimsy here...

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Flipping heck! Virtual machines hijacked via bit-meddling Feng Shui

Chris Gray 1

Easy to disable

In case anyone reads comments but didn't follow the article's link to the docs, it is easy to disable this feature on a system. Also, if you rebuild your own kernel, there is a config flag to remove the feature completely.

So, good to know about this attack, but nothing to panic about.

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PC pioneer Gary Kildall's unpublished memoir revealed

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

happy memories

CP/M may not have been much by today's standards, but it did the job just fine, and brought early computers into businesses, schools and homes. I had it on a Godbout CompuPro system.

I remember seeing MP/M (multitasking CP/M!!!) running on a system in a store downtown - impressive!

I wrote a *lot* of software on my CP/M system. It was an S-100 box, and I had bought a couple of graphics cards for it, plus expansion memory. So, I had my Draco compiler and utilities, my Ded editor, my Explore D&D-ish system (never really released), my RAM disk cache (hooks in BIOS) etc.

Things were so much simpler back then!

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Google asks the public to name the forthcoming Android N operating system

Chris Gray 1
Gimp

Nanaimo Bar

Well, it has to start with 'N' of course. It has to be something sweet. The only suggestion here that works so far is "Nougat". But, as a Canuck, and a fan of the Christmas favourite, I think "Nanaimo Bar" is the winner. It's minor downsides are that its hard to spell for some, and it may not be well know outside of Canada. Whot??? There's no nanaimo bar icon???

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FCC urged to pause its fight against America's $20bn cable-box rip-off

Chris Gray 1
Go

Canada much better

Here in Canada you've been able to buy the cable boxes for several years. My older, main box is a PVR that I bought at a local "London Drugs" (they are also a pharmacy!). It's an oddball one with an external IDE hard drive, but so far it continues to work (3-4 years). The firmware in it seems to be crap, but perhaps that's to be expected.

After a recent move, I wanted another TV. I checked into buying a simple terminal, and it looked like it would be around $150. Online they were $132 (roughly). I phoned a local outlet of the cable company, and they were on sale for CDN $72. So I went and got one, and it works just fine. It came with its power wall-wart, an HDMI cable, a universal remote with battery, and an extender for the infrared sensor. I'm not complaining about that price!

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Get ready to patch Git servers, clients – nasty-looking bugs surface

Chris Gray 1
Meh

question

In this situation, the space for the final file name is computed using "strlen", so it seems to me that copying the file name into that space using "strcpy" is valid. Both go until a NUL byte is found, and so operate consistently. Am I missing something?

The issue with using signed ints is valid. However, on today's 64 bit systems you are not going to be able to allocate enough virtual memory to hit the problem. A Google search tells me that non-standard "xmalloc" will abort if it cannot allocate the needed memory, so there isn't a hole there.

Again, what am I missing here?

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Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown

Chris Gray 1
Go

Amiga 1000

Surely someone still has an Amiga 1000 that works? Mine, from 1985, worked as of 3 or 4 years ago when all of my old Amiga stuff went into a friend's storage. We probably *could* extract it and try it out, but...

When I tried it just before we packed it off, the internal floppy was OK, but the external one just made noises. The old NTSC display looked wonky on my LCD TV, but it was there, and the Kickstart and Extras floppies fired up.

Needless to say, the machine didn't run anywhere near continuously since I got it.

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Apple evacuates European HQ after bomb threat

Chris Gray 1
Black Helicopters

GCHQ/NSA?

You lot aren't paranoid enough!

Evacuation of the premesis of a major technology player is the perfect opportunity for the various spy agencies to go in and plant all sorts of devices, and to get brief access to code repositories, etc.

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Star Wars BB-8 toy in firmware update risk, say UK security bods

Chris Gray 1
Meh

No internal sounds

The BB-8 (yes, I have one - new app this morning with new preprogrammed buttons) does not have internal speakers or microphone. It can only drive around and blink lights in limited fashions. So, other than perhaps trying to pair with other devices, there isn't much it can do to hurt things. There is nothing at all in the "head" - just 2 magnets and some wheels to let it roll around the main ball.

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'Wipe everything clean ... Join us ...' Creepy poem turns up in logs of 30 million-ish servers

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Yay! :-)

Yay, I got one. That means I'm real. :-)

Mine came in from 151.217.177.200 also, on December 29.

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Lettuce-nibbling veggies menace Mother Earth

Chris Gray 1
FAIL

*per calorie*

No-one seems to have mentioned that the article stresses that the costs are *per calorie*.

No-one in their right mind expects calories from celery (doesn't it take more calories to eat than it provides?). And certainly not much from lettuce. So, really, is anyone surprised that it takes more calories to produce (and ship, display, handle, etc.) a mountain of celery than it does a half pound of chicken?

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1

PNG pongs: critical bug patched in ubiquitous libpng

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Ubuntu patched this morning

For the record, the patches came through from Ubuntu this morning. I'm in western

Canada for timezone.

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0
Chris Gray 1
Linux

patching...

So, the good folks working on Ubuntu will have patches for my computer in a day or two.

My phone, however, will quite possibly never get a patch (over 2 years old).

Anyone know how patches for Ubuntu phones are handled?

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Linus Torvalds fires off angry 'compiler-masturbation' rant

Chris Gray 1
Facepalm

Ooops

Sorry, Stuart, you got the error handling wrong - you want it to return 0 if the substructure alloc worked. If it didn't, you want to free 's' and then return 'errno'.

In situations like this, 'return' is your friend. On the Amiga, the OS doesn't track your allocations, so in any error situations, you have to free allocated stuff yourself. The structure I tended to use was a big 'if' sequence, testing for success. Somewhere in the middle, everything is setup properly, and I 'return' from there. After the various levels of 'if' comes undo code for stuff successfully setup before that 'if'. Worked pretty good. I did cheat in one case and change the indentation to 2 instead of my default 4, though. The alternative is to just call an interior init function that is structured the same way.

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Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Works in Canada

Canada did this a few years ago. Works great, and I doubt anyone would want to go back. And no, I've seen no indication that sellers move their prices up. The way it works here is that if you pay by some means other than cash, the price is not rounded, so we still have prices marked as $.97, etc.

Many cash registers still show the non-rounded prices, but by now both store clerks and customers are quite used to doing the rounding in their heads.

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Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

Chris Gray 1
Go

"good steward" - not likely

I can't imagine mankind being a good steward of nature in the current setup. No way.

Interesting interview though, regardless of where you sit/stand.

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4

Chocolate Factory plops Marshmallow on Android slabs

Chris Gray 1
Meh

Optional security - bah!

To quote the article: "Apps designed for Android Marshmallow only ask for a permission at the time it's needed to use a feature,"

That's not what most people want. They want the new levels of permissions to be forced onto all apps, including old ones. So, Google has left it up to the app developer as to whether or not they want to be bound by new app permission restrictions. Sigh.

I guess it does leave open the possibility for Google to withdraw the old API's at some point in the future, so all apps will need to use the new Marshmallow+ API's.

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The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

Chris Gray 1
Happy

Fun days

As part of a job, I visited the Cray HQ once. I was impressed by the carpets - they were done in a Mandelbrot Set pattern - that must have cost a pretty penny!

I specifically looked for a Cray-1 through the windows in the hallway I walked past, but didn't see one - just lots of rectangular boxes. I was disappointed.

Later, in a successor job, I was doing work making a pthreads library to run on the Tera MTA (Tera later bought Cray, then renamed itself to Cray, if I recall correctly). I had a remote login for testing to the MTA machine in SDSC - great fun.

Small groups, working out of the mainstream, produce the most interesting things!

No-one has mentioned the story about a Cray machine that was shipped to an unnameable USA agency. The delivery instructions were something along the lines of "put it in a semi; leave the trailer here on this night; pick up the trailer two days later".

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Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

Chris Gray 1
Angel

Internal strife?

Hmmm. Seems to me that there are probably lots of technical folks inside Microsoft that don't like the "telemetry" and auto updates of Windows 10. What better way to sidetrack it all than "accidentally" pushing out an obviously bad update, just to show folks how bad uncontrollable auto updates are?

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Flaky Flickr's pic upload faulty for weeks, fume fed-up photographers

Chris Gray 1
Black Helicopters

Obvious, innit?

Sheesh! I would have thought it was obvious by now. All of these temporary outages of major services are *of course* due to having to install new hardware and software to support government capture of all the info, including down-to-the-microsecond datestamps on all header packets.

What else *could* it be?

(And you know, I'm not 100% sure this is wrong...)

2
0

Microsoft throws crypto foes an untouchable elliptic curveball

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Good stuff!

This is part of the new Microsoft, I guess. Explicit support for Linux using gcc. Licensing is the MIT license - pretty much "do what you want".

Haven't tried compiling yet (my gcc is one version back from what they have tested, and my CPU only has AVX, not AVX2).

Still, looks like a good thing. Kudos to Microsoft!

I hope external crypto folks examine it with a fine tooth comb!

28
0

Giant sea scorpion which prowled ancient oceans revealed

Chris Gray 1
Alert

Seen on Primeval

One of the local TV stations just finished broadcasting the one season of "Primeval: New World", which is a sort-of followon to the UK "Primeval".

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2295953/?ref_=fn_al_tt_5

The two-part season ender featured giant scorpions. I found this article very timely.

Now we just have to find out how to control the "anomolies".

0
0

Automattic says spooks asked for something it can't reveal

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Down

So, up to 125 then

OK, so if the count is in "bands of 250", any value 0 - 125 must be reported as 0. So, Automattic received 125 or less requests. Yeah, saying 0 is fairly misleading, I'd say.

6
0

Happy birthday, Amiga: The 'other' home computer turns 30

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Ah, the good old days!

I bought an A1000 in '85, but had to wait a while before I could get a colour monitor, so the agonizingly slow Mandelbrot written in BASIC was all in green. :-(

Eventually went through A2000, A2500, A3000 and bought an A4000 just after I heard that Commodore was shutting down. I had lots of software that I had written and was in the middle of a big project - I did *not* want to change systems at that time! I've put UAE on my Linux box just for the nostalgia of running my old software.

(And yes, I know this dates me badly!)

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An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one million miles out

Chris Gray 1
Alien

Polar storm?

Haven't looked at the hi-res, but it looks to me like we have a *4* sided polar cloud pattern down south. Was it Jupiter that had a 6-sided storm system at its pole?

1
0

Apple Watch is such a flop it's the world's top-selling wearable

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Each to his own

I used to wear a regular watch, but haven't for a decade or two. There are lots of clocks around. But then a friend demonstrated his Samsung Gear 2 Neo. Cool toy - I wanted one. I have no regrets. I use the pedometer quite a bit - it is telling me stuff about my daily walks. The ability to see texts (I mostly email on my desktop) and to reply to them is quite handy. I've even answered calls on it a couple of times. Downloaded a calculator app. Used the heart rate monitor to see how much climbing hills affects me. And, since my time sense can be almost 2 hours out, being able to tell time while out walking on the paths is handier than digging out my phone - especially in the winter, I hope.

2
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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Chris Gray 1
Thumb Up

Could be a paradigm shift

I've had a Kindle Keyboard (old one with WiFi/3G) for years, and continue to be quite happy with it. Works great in full tropical sunlight and in Canadian winter indoors.

I would be happy to buy a colour device with similar characteristics. Maybe add a touch screen. It would be nice to see the book covers in the same full colour as you get on the physical books.

Think about this: the contents of books is black and white, mostly because it costs quite a bit more to do colour printing, I'd guess. What if there were a market for coloured book contents? Would publishers then start putting colour in? Many books used to have occasional pictures in them. It would be nice to have those in colour. What about colour in the chapter headers, etc.? I think it could change things, over time.

0
0

Microsoft U-turns on 'free' Windows 10 upgrade promise for ALL previewers

Chris Gray 1
Linux

Same as Andy Non

I also have a Win 8.1 laptop that I occasionally use (main system is KUbuntu desktop). I wanted a laptop to take to some meetings, and I wanted Windows to test some software on. I'm pretty sure I never setup any kind of account with Microsoft. I will be watching sites like El Reg carefully before any attempt to upgrade to Win 10, to make sure that silliness like being online or having accounts is not happening. If it is, no upgrade for me.

Off Topic: Heck, I haven't even created a Samsung account, which is needed to access the Tizen app store to get new watch faces for my Gear 2 Neo. (Lots of people disdain such things, but I think its a fun toy! If you do think about getting some kind of smartwatch, check carefully what it needs and what it can do. On my G2N I can read and reply to texts, read emails, receive and initiate phone calls, see appointment alerts, etc.)

3
1

Major London rail station reveals system passwords during TV documentary

Chris Gray 1
FAIL

Another one

Nicely timed article, for me.

There is a provincial election going on here in Alberta. I was watching the evening news yesterday, where they had an article about some of the female candidates. In one HQ shot, there was a whiteboard quite prominent in the background, with the note "Voicemail password" followed by something I couldn't catch.

I laughed, and thought briefly about calling the station to inform the reporter to inform the candidate's office,... but quickly forgot about it.

I wonder if there will be a news item this evening about that candidate having voicemail problems? Nah!

0
0

White House cyber-general says US must be able to cyber-nuke the worst of the cyber-worst

Chris Gray 1
Devil

Be very afraid...

This sort of thing is getting uncomfortably close to the US government requiring that manufacturers put methods into all products that allow the US to remotely, and without control by the user, stop or alter the use of the product.

The products can be hardware, software, firmware, maybe even wetware!

14
1

One small shot for Man, one espresso maker IN SPAAACE: Dragon snatched by ISS

Chris Gray 1
Facepalm

Re: Next upgrade...

> With all that coffee, the next upgrade will be to the station's toilet I expect...

Hopefully not the one that Howard Wolowitz designed...

2
0

Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

Chris Gray 1
WTF?

security chip???

So what can that integrated security chip do? More importantly, what can it *remember* for later playback to someone? Or am I reading too much into the words?

3
0

Israeli gov & boffins targeted by pr0ntastic malware from Gaza

Chris Gray 1
FAIL

Attacks Egypt?

So Advtravel, from Egypt, hit mostly laptops in Egypt? Or is that a typo?

if not, then good targetting, that!

0
2

Ex-squeeze me? Baking soda? Boffins claim it safely sucks CO2 out of the air

Chris Gray 1
FAIL

Limited use solution

The title, the subtitle, and part of the quotes are misleading. This quote in the article is important:

"Putting the carbonate solution inside of the capsules allows it to be used for CO2 capture without making direct contact with the surface of equipment in the power plant, as well as being able to move it between absorption and release towers easily, even when it absorbs so much CO2 that it solidifies."

So, this technique helps some factories and power plants that have to deal with CO2, by having a CO2 handling system that is much easier to work with. In such factories, the CO2 "captured" in one part of the factory is then released in another part - a different "tower".

Absolutely nothing to do with reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.

5
0

Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

Chris Gray 1

Our set

We often play Acquire. Others include Power Grid, Ticket to Ride Europe (expansions arrived recently), and Carcassone. Occasionals include Rail Baron, Wizard's Quest (we call it "Orc Frenzy"), Bureaucracy and even simple Dungeon!

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