* Posts by JCF2009

18 posts • joined 12 Aug 2009

SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere


One meter error?

". . . fluctuations were probably pretty small and could have led to a range of errors in GPS navigation of up to a meter - not significant enough to cause major problems . . ."

One meter error passable for ordinary civilian road navigation, but certainly not for surveying or some military applications.

Amazon recalls dodgy solar eclipse shades that offer no eye protection


Now what?

I ordered three sets of eclipse viewing filters months ago, and now just last week I hear from Amazon that they might not be effective. Yet it's too late to re-order replacement viewing glasses (lead times are beyond Eclipse Day).

Frustratingly, the filters I have may or may not be effective. The packaging is in Japanese although it also bears the "Made in China" imprint. I've checked the certification markings on the web, and everything looks good EXCEPT for the possibility that it's all counterfeit.

We're 90 per cent sure the FCC's robocall kill plan won't have the slightest impact


Nomorobo really works!

I signed up my phone line (VoIP) for Nomorobo when it was introduced. The service is no-cost to personal home users. Before Nomorobo I was getting 3 or more robo-calls a day, everyday. With Nomorobo I've got my phone line back for actual callers.

Dodgy dealer on Amazon lures marks towards phishing site


Scam abounds in U.S. as well

I've noticed a very similar scam conducted with pricey electronics and camera gear on the U.S. amazon site. The scammers instruct prospective buyers to contact them directly using an email address in the seller listinf notes or even the seller name. The reply email directs the buyer to purchase an Amazon Gift Card and send the card number back to the seller, who will then place the amazon order "on behalf of the purchaser".

I don't know what percentage of interested buyers fall for the entire scheme, but I've noticed quite a few of the bogus seller offerings over the past few months. The offers seem to appear and then disappear a few hours later.

Leap second scheduled for New Year's Eve 2016


Leap seconds long predate LINUX

For some reason I was tracking leap second announcements back in the 1960's. These have been around a long time. There's hardly an excuse for not handling leap seconds in commercial or other hardened code.

Hacker predicts AMEX card numbers, bypasses chip and PIN


GIF site infected

My Norton internet security program is flagging the site of that GIF (meter-small2.gif, linked to in the article) as infected and dangerous.

'Untraceable' VoIP caller ID-spoofing website accepts Bitcoin



My home phone is the target of spam calls with spoofing ID's every day, including the case where the caller ID is my own phone number. I speculate the purpose of that particular spoof is to get you to answer the call out of curiosity.

Aggressive use of my VoIP service's Caller ID filtering feature now keeps the actual unwanted ring-throughs down to a typical of a few per week. Before I dumped my old land line in favor of this VoIP service, spam calls per day had reached an intolerable point.

The FCC will never catch up to these scammers / spoofers - they move much too quickly. It took the FCC years to shut down the infamous "Rachael from cardholder services" scam but within months imitators were back on the phone lines, even re-using the "Rachael" part.

Trevor contemplates Consumer Netgear gear. BUT does it pass the cat hair test?


Re: Thanks for the memories

"Any suggestions for a good lower end smart switch (8 x 1 Gbe) with VLAN features staying well within the sub 500 USD range?"


Have you looked at the Cisco SG300-10 (or the PoE version SG300-10P)? I believe either of these meets all of your criteria for features and cost. I've had good luck with them.

LifeLock snaps shut Wallet mobile app over credit card leak fears


"We have determined that certain aspects of the mobile app may not be fully compliant with payment card industry (PCI) security standards."

What? The PCI standard is such a minimal level of security (like don't store the user's PIN in plaintext) that if the app weren't compliant it would deserve to be shut down.

Target ignored hacker alarms as crooks took 40m credit cards – claim


Offshore monitoring operation normal

The Bangalore monitoring team sounds like pretty standard industry practice. Likely, Target contracted for a Security Operations Center to be set up and staffed offshore (India in this case). The Reuters story reported that the Bangalore team forwarded the alerts directly to Target headquarters (no doubt compliant with their SLA). The personnel in Minneapolis were the ones who overlooked the significance of these particular alerts (for the reason stated in the Reuters and The Registers reports).

Russian cybercrooks shun real currencies, develop private altcoins


An online Hawala scheme

The system described here qualifies as an electronic implementation of a Hawala scheme, and accordingly has a long and illustrious history.

Internet Explorer makes modest gains against Google Chrome


Chrome is driving me back to IE

I was a faithful Firefox fan until a couple years ago when they went into the rapid update cycle. This constantly broke my plugins. Fortunately, about that time Chrome was on the upswing, famous for being more secure than IE, so I happily switched.

But in the past few months, Chrome problems, apparently tolerated by the Chrome team, are driving me away. Aside from rendering problems on some websites, the freezes, scrolling slowdowns, and Norton toolbar crashes, are becoming routine and constant. According to forums, many other people are seeing the same issues yet no real fixes are forthcoming.

A few days ago I tried the latest Firefox again - and quickly discovered it has its own set of incompatibilities and problems. I quickly uninstalled it, not wanting to trade one set of issues for another.

Internet Explorer is starting to look like a viable option again.

Dell directors foresee unremitting brutality in PC market


Re: The Tree is Dead

To be fair to Dell (or at least try to provide an explanation), the 2GB system in the catalog is there to provide a lower price intended to get your attention. If you go online to order the system you will have ample opportunity to upgrade the system in numerous ways, with clearly indicated price adjustments. Even when customized as nice power-user systems, I've found Dell's online prices to be more than competitive vs. similarly configured boxes from HP or Lenovo.

Mozilla cranks out Firefox 5 with cross-platform 'Do Not Track' feature


Breaks Norton Toolbar

Had this on my machine for about two minutes today - long enough to confirm that FF 5.0 breaks compatibility with Norton Toolbar. Norton's warning function for Google results is a big safety factor for me. I'll try again in a month.

Times celebrates disappearing readers


Simply too expensive for me (and many others?)

US $2 per week appears nominal but over time it is not competitive with all the free news services out there. Since I already subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, I don't want to add another $200/year of internet information fees to my budget. If the Times were priced more "popularly" to bring it under $100 per year I might reconsider. What does the demand curve look like for this service? I suspect that $200/year is leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table.

Man sentenced for DIY gift-card cloning


18 months probation?

What, only 18 months probation for grand theft involving numerous anonymous victims?

Cambridge Audio Azur 650BD


Resembles Oppo BDP-80

Although the front panel is different, the specifications, rear-panel, and OSD configuration displays look the same as the Oppo BDP-80. Coincidence or same OEM internals?

Men in Green step back from GM's 230mpg Volt claim


EPA's proposed standard for electric/hybrid vehicles

A version of the proposed EPA standard, that may have been used by GM to come up with the 230 MPG figure, has been published at:


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