* Posts by Christopher Key.

28 posts • joined 28 Sep 2009

UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

Christopher Key.

Password required?

Do you actually need the password to authenticate? Would it not be possible to hand authentication off to MS, and just receive the session key afterwards?

Of course, this means you need communication with MS whenever you want to connect, but unless Microsoft is going to have you maintain a local cache of wifi passwords for all your contacts, that would be the case anyway.

Going up hills past blokes with coke-bottle legs: The Smart E-bike

Christopher Key.

I don't disagree. As a convenience to those commuting with showers, or as assistance to those not fit enough to commute without assistance, electric bikes may be a great product.

My point was just that if you try to use one of these to race someone fit and determined up a hill, you'll be disappointed.

Christopher Key.

Plus 15kg too, but fair point, unless you're very strong 200W is worth more than 15kg costs.

Christopher Key.

200W isn't going to take you past anyone vaguely fit. 300W-400W maybe, depending on how long the climb is.

Oracle vs Google redux: Appeals court says APIs CAN TOO be copyrighted

Christopher Key.

Re: W. T. F.

You patent a non-trivial concept. You copyright a non-trivial implementation. Both seem to apply.

I suppose that means you could copyright portions of the patent applications, and then patent the idea of doing so.

Symantec: 'NetBackup 7.5 speeds backup 100X'

Christopher Key.

like tarsnap has been doing for some time?

Google reveals 'leap smear' NTP technique

Christopher Key.


Would it not be cleaner to have the computers track TAI internally, and only convert to/from TAI for output/input.

Google brings out new programming language

Christopher Key.


>"If it's another language that tries to use "+" both to concatenate strings and add numbers, and/or tries to use the same comparison operators to compare strings and numbers, then it's doomed to failure."

>oh yeah, exactly like how perl failed.....?

You are trolling aren't you?

"+" vs. "."

"==" vs. "eq"


El Reg's NAOMI rocket throws launch-pad strop

Christopher Key.


I guess you must've spoken with John Bonsor about Waveriders, and would like to add my vote for this as a design to use for LOHAN.

Google Chrome beta turns on native code machine

Christopher Key.

PNaCl, I'll take that with a pinch of salt!

As per title.

Anonymous and LulzSec spew out largest ever police data dump

Christopher Key.

@Everyone Objecting

Yes, they're breaking the law; yes their doing so may be endangering others.

But: If a group of bored individuals can access such data for 'fun', then a group of people with something to gain can arrange access to it too, and probably without alerting anyone to the fact.

Anything that gets organisations to look after their data a bit better is surely a good thing.

Ten... wireless speakers

Christopher Key.
Thumb Up

Arcam rCube

I did some reasonably careful listening tests before committing, and was pretty impressed by Arcam's rCube.

Heat sink breakthrough threatens ventblockers

Christopher Key.

Couple of Points

Firstly, this doesn't 'eliminates the boundary layer'. Ignoring the thermal transfer across the air cushion, you've still boundary layers in the flow of cool air over the warm impeller.

Secondly, I can't see this working well when mounted on its side.

Met arrest alleged Lulz hacker

Christopher Key.

In response to all the vitriol over LulzSec's actions

Yes, they are acting against the law and should be located and punished.

Yes, their releasing data may be putting people at risk of identify theft.


If LulzSec can gain access to such data, then there's nothing to suggest that other suitably savvy criminals would be unable to do likewise, and would then exploit such data themselves.

Additionally, the sources of the data may well be unaware of the breach, and even if they were, the would probably refuse to acknowledge it, unless forced to do so.

I'd therefore question whether LulzSec's actions were really creating a substantial increase in the amount of sensitive data in the hands of those wishing to exploit it, but were instead forcing institutions to take data security far more seriously. Surely this is something to be welcomed.

The New C++: Lay down your guns, knives, and clubs

Christopher Key.


I take issue with almost all of the above!

On ease of typing, I fail to see how typing "}" can possibly be slower than typing e.g. "End If", especially when including wasted time relocating the cursor to correct typos.

On spotting errors, I fail to see how a missing "}" can be easier to spot than a missing "End If". The eye automatically matches bracket pairs, whereas matching "If", "End If" is far harder.

On the comparison with English, note that English can be pretty punctuation heavy when conveying complex concepts, and all the better for it. Compare the following:

> "When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.

> Open Quote When you wake up in the morning Comma Pooh Comma Close Quote said Piglet at last Comma Open Quote what's the first thing you say to yourself Question Close Quote

Open Quote What's for breakfast Question Close Quote said Pooh Stop Open Quote What do you say Comma Piglet Question Close Quote

Open Quote I say Comma I wonder what's going to happen exciting today Question Close Quote said Piglet Stop

Pooh nodded thoughtfully Stop Open Quote It's the same thing Comma Close Quote he said Stop

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive e-car

Christopher Key.

Idiot Pedestrians

"... the number of idiot pedestrians who stepped out in front of me over the course of a week beggared belief."

Welcome to the world of the cyclist!

Verity Stob and the super subjunction

Christopher Key.
Thumb Up


Please, world, cease this arse-witted usage of adjectives in the place of adverbs!

It seems to be a specific affectation of sports pundits,

He played good.

He passed brilliant.

Arghh !!!!! !!!!! !!!

Read-only nation: can Open Source change the British way?

Christopher Key.

Lost in translation?

I think he probably meant "played with" in the sense of "derived entertainment from in the manner anticipated/dictated by the manufacturer", whereas I suspect that you mean "played with" in the sense of "tinkered with". Of course, having an interest in playing games on some device doesn't preclude having an interest in how it works, but I'd suggest that it does little to teach you how the device works, and in that sense they are mutually exclusive.

How to choose the right screen size

Christopher Key.

709 vs 601

The RGB primaries used for HD material are more intensely saturated than those used for SD material, hence HD can encode more intensely saturated colours. A lot of screens also support xvYCC, which allows encoding more intense colours still by allowing negative RGB coefficients. So far as I'm aware, no broadcast standards nor mass distribution standards support xvYCC, but if you've a PC displaying photos that use scRGB or similar, that might legitimately be able to exploit it.

So, what's the best sci-fi film never made?

Christopher Key.
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In addition to the adding a further vote for the Foundation series, I'd like to suggest Clarke's 'The City and the Stars'

BBC engineers see PLT knocking out DAB

Christopher Key.

Interference with BT Infinity?

Further research yielded some test results[1] which show that PLT devices transmit on 2MHz upwards. ADSL2 uses 25kHz - 2MHz, and thus should be unaffected by PLT, but VDSL (as used by BT Infinity) uses up to 30MHz, and looks somewhat vulnerable to interference. If anyone's in a position to test this, I should be very interested to hear their results!

[1] http://www.ban-plt.co.uk/tests.php

Christopher Key.

Not fit for purpose

Although a first reading of the EMC directives yields the rather circular statement,

"The apparatus shall be so constructed that

equipment shall not generate electromagnetic disturbances exceeding a level allowing radio and telecommunications equipment and other apparatus to operate as intended;

equipment shall have an adequate level of intrinsic immunity from electromagnetic disturbances to enable it to operate as intended."

further research shows that there are actually relevant standards (with well defined, quantified limits) to which equipment must adhere. Moreover, OFCOM's own research has show that PLT kit fails to meet these requirements:


I would suggest that Trading Standards might be more useful, as products have to be EMC compliant to be CE marked, and it is their job to police this.

I've recently been trying to deal with RF interference in the LW and MW bands knocking out my ADSL connection. OFCOM proved similarly useless and uninterested in this situation, spending a week telling my ISP that I had to pursue this with then (i.e. OFCOM), and telling me that my ISP had to pursue it with them. Eventually, they confessed to my ISP that they were no longer interested in policing interference at these frequencies, and that it was essentially a free-for-all.

AT&T ends illicit handset tethering

Christopher Key.

The Solution?

I'm not sure about them detecting based upon TTL values. If the phone is acting as a NAT then this is certainly possible, but it was my understanding that (at least in some setups), the phone acts as a modem, and hence the 'external' IP would get assigned to the tethered device.

Intel confirms HDCP copy-protection crack

Christopher Key.

Little more than a licence fee

In my opinion, HDCP was never about copy protection. It was simply a way for a dominant group of companies to extract a license fee from anyone wishing to produce display devices.

A skilful individual may well be able to extract the keys from his television, and hence build his own HDCP capable display device, and I doubt that anyone would be too concerned. However, if he then starts mass producing and selling said display device, the keys are at risk of being revoked, yielding angry customers and a crippling lawsuit from the manufacturer of the television from which he obtained his keys. Far easier just to play nicely, pay for a legitimate set of HDCP keys, and pass the cost on to the consumer.

CSS and AACS, in my opinion serve a similar purpose. Until CSS was cracked, anyone wishing to build and sell DVD players would have had to pay for a CSS licence. Even now, I suspect that they need to pay for a licence to avoid the risk of being sued / prosecuted under the DMCA or equivalent. Likewise, anyone wishing to build and sell Bluray players needs to pay for a licence and set of keys. They could use a set of keys trivially extracted from a software player, but these keys are likely to be revoked, leaving the player useless with new releases. Again, far easier just to behave.

I would be very interested to know how the cost of developing these 'copy protection' schemes compares with the licensing revenue that the bring in. My guess would be that the latter outweighs the former by a substantial margin. It is of course the consumer that ends up paying, but that's always going to be the case.

One final point. I entirely agree that copy protection is broken by design: you cannot give someone encrypted data and a device to decrypt it, and then expect them not to be able to duplicate that device themselves. However, it will always take them a finite time to do it. Therefore, if Hollywood wishes to protect New Release, they simply need to 'refresh' the AACS keys used to encrypt it, and there will be a period where the only way to watch New Release is by buying the disc. If, as suggested elsewhere, commercial pirates are not dependent on the released disc, instead having access alternative sources, then all Hollywood have achieved is to force me to use my original disc to watch New Release for a short while, before I can extract the data and store the original.

LHC boffins crank beams to 3.5 TeV redline

Christopher Key.

Beams of particles

The wikipedia article refers to beams containing 2808 bunches of 1.15e11 protons each, all of which need to be dumped simultaneously. Including this and counting both beams, the energies match reasonably closely.

SSD tools crack passwords 100 times faster

Christopher Key.

Am I missing something?

Am I missing something?

With a rainbow table, you precompute hashes for some dictionary of passwords, and then look up the hash of the sought password within that list. Unless you're doing a linear scan through the list of hashes, HD bandwidth shouldn't be relevant. Sure, SSDs may give lookups a couple of orders of magnitude quicker, but I can't see the use in being able to crack a password in 1ms over 100ms.

Keene IRAnywhere

Christopher Key.

Concept's sound

I've had good results with a similar product,


Combined with a suitable WebApp on a iPod Touch, you can have a very neat remote control system.

Microsoft apes Google with chillerless* data center

Christopher Key.

@Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 28th September 2009 08:02 GMT

> how many megawatts of heat do you think should be pumped into a river? are you suggesting introducing tropical fish also?

~250MW could be dumped into the Thames giving ~1°C temperature rise.

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