* Posts by Ogi

232 posts • joined 13 Nov 2009


How Lexmark's patent fight to crush an ink reseller will affect us all


Re: "I have taken to printing out ebooks"

> Ehm, what's wrong in buying books already printed and bound? You could also help some jobs to survive...

Alas no bookshops in my area. I think the last one shut down 5 years ago. Most people seem to prefer tablets and ebook readers for the convenience, so all book shops near me have long gone. Also I can get books that are out of print now.

I do buy books, but have to do it online (sigh), plus wait for them to be delivered (usually around a week) and be at home at the right time. With my current set up I can get a book from an online archive printed and bound in under an hour at any time I want, ready for reading. Plus I can pick fonts and layouts that I find the most pleasing for reading.

I admit I have taken to some enjoyment to doing it too, it could turn into a hobby of mine. I can also make all the books have the same outside covers and dimensions, so looks neater on my shelf.

The only thing lacking right now is a good method of printing onto the spine cover. Sticky labels or marker pen just doesn't look that nice.


Re: "Epson ecotanks. That's the approach all manufactures should be taking."

> The nice thing about Epson print heads is that they're very well made, and can be manually dismantled and flushed with a syringe if you really need to

I have an old Epson P50 that ceased printing black ink, and all attempts to flush out whatever clogged the head hasn't worked. I've since bought a new Epson A3 printer, but would not mind getting the old P50 working again. Are there any good instructions you can recommend on disassembly/reassembly of these printers?


Re: We're still printing?

> I mean that seriously.

Not only are we still printing, in my case we are printing more. I used to print very little, only the odd photograph to stick on the wall, and if I need a few sheets to take with me somewhere. Eventually it came to the point where I didn't bother actually having a printer (which made it annoying for that once in a blue moon time when I needed to print something out, like airline boarding passes).

However I grew tired of staring at screens, I was staring at screens for work, staring at screens for shopping, staring at screens for dating, staring at screens for consumption of entertainment, staring at screens for doing my taxes, and staring at screens to study.

I had enough. So now for study (and some entertainment) I have taken to printing out ebooks and reading them on paper. Not only is it easier on the eyes, but I can actually underline, highlight, make notes, and mark bits I am interested in.

Plus I can easily take the book with me to work, or anywhere else, and have all the notes and references there, and it is in a universal format that has persisted for thousands of years.

Also I have to say, it feels nice, the tactile feedback of paper, and needs no power to have the information on tap.

I've since bought some good quality paper, and a book binding kit, so have taken to binding my own books. they even look nice organised on the shelf.

Coupled with Project Gutenberg and archive.org. there is a large body of out of print free ebooks on all kinds of topics I never even have considered before, so now I can build up my own library relatively cheaply.


Shocked, I tell you. BT to write off £530m over 'improper' Italian accounts practices


Re: No prosecutions then?

> http://www.snopes.com/business/names/powergen.asp

I love it how the snopes link on the register references the register in its debunking. Specifically: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/06/18/powergen_denies_ties_with_powergenitalia/


Go dark with the flow: Lavabit lives again


> Unless it becomes LESS convenient, turning the average person OFF to the idea. I sometimes wonder if we're going to find it's an UNhappy medium out there: too irksome to use yet not secure enough to be practical. Remember the unwashed masses control the market, and they're searching for unicorns at this point. And we REALLY need the herd effect for this to be really effective. Unless, of course, the State has the computational resources to still winnow this out, in which case we're at the Big Brother stage already, in which case we're pretty much screwed.

I am willing to let them try. GPG has been around for donkeys years, and it never caught on beyond a few special industries and crypto nerds.

If they can provide similar levels of security in a more convenient fashion, then I don't have a problem with letting them try. Even if the security is worse than GPG, it would be moving forward as long as it isn't unencryped email (which is the equivalent ot writing messages on a post card and sending that).

Plus in theory I could GPG encrypt my mail myself before I send it through this system if I feel particularly paranoid, while for joe average it will be more secure than before, but with (in theory) similar levels of convenience.

I still would class that as a win, because we have moved forward and improved an infrastructure that was designed back when the Internet was an academic utopia, rather than the modern day cesspit it has become.

And yes, if the state can winnow it out anyway without much effort, then we are deeper down the rabbit hole then I expected. In which case, not much you can do. If you can't organise an effective opposition because all comm channels are under scrutiny/control, then you are done essentially. Individuals can either rage impotently against the machine, accept that is the world they live in, or attempt to leave for greener pastures.

> But like you said, natural selection might result in security people hiring sociopathic masochistic loners since they can't be tortured: directly (wrench turns them on) or indirectly (don't care about anyone else enough for that to be an angle). And this is only in SEMI-jest, since it seems sociopathy is just about a requirement for ANY position of power.

I thought they already hired sociopathic masochists? :-D Or at least a mixture of sociopathic sadists and masochists... (their Christmas parties must be fun)

Well, this is a human condition, not something technology will control or remedy (nor am I sure it would be wise to do so). Either way, it is outside the scope of this project's goals :-)


> And what I'm saying is that I don't think they did enough to raise that cost. For example, there's a point of trust in this new system. All the plods would have to do is subvert or duplicate this starting point, then they have ways to trace you and then just do highly-targeted attacks as needed.

Fair enough, I haven't read their paper just yet, so cannot provide constructive rebuttal or agreement. What would you change in the system to make it more secure, but still a palatable alternative to replace the widespread popularity of current email?

At this point, it sounds like it is more secure than 95% of the systems up there, which is an improvement I will not complain about. If it can deter casual spying that is good.

Targeted attacks are harder to counteract, and you may well find that this system will not be enough, you may need to consider multi-layered security systems, or perhaps something other than this.

Still, I won't knock the guy for coming up with a proposal for something better than the unencrypted store-and-forward system we have now. It is all about convenience vs security, if we can get increased security for all, even if not perfect, it is better than what we have currently.

Those who are at greater risk (or have increased paranoia) are free to use more secure and less convenient systems, as they see fit.

> As for the $5 xkcd solution, I've always said it doesn't work against two types of people: wimps (who keep fainting at the mere sight) and masochists (who are turned on by the wrench and ask you to hit harder).

Heh, natural selection working to increase the number of wimps and masochists then =)

In seriousness though, the combined masochists and wimps are what? 5% of the population? more? Even if it was 25% (a bit optimistic I think), that leaves 75% that would be scared enough of the threat to reveal what is demanded, or they will give in not too long after the procedure has begun.


> Still can't help feeling there's still a way for the spooks to get in.

No system is 100% secure, there is always a way for spooks to get in, even if it is directly through you (i.e "5 dollar wrench" solution -- https://xkcd.com/538/).

The point of this exercise is to make it harder and more expensive for them to do so. It means that they would only then do it if there is probable cause, or enough reason that it would justify the cost to rifle through your personal life.

What we are trying to avoid is a situation where it is so easy and cheap for almost anyone to rifle through your personal life, that they can do it en masse and for almost nothing per person. That is where we are heading now, and IMO a very dystopic future.

The alternative "secure" solutions don't have to be 100% secure, just secure enough to deter casual/automated spying.


Re: ~Slow handclap~

> Your inconvenience originated from you not fully understanding what are you buying.

Indeed, one of the reasons I would download all my mail off lavabit to my own home via POP. In this world secure communications channels not backed by military power can be shut down, and I would rather lavabit shut down, then just open up a backdoor to all our mail. If I wanted that, I could just use Google.

FWIW, I will be going to back to lavabit once up and running. He proved himself by shutting down his business and going through the courts for years rather than give up the keys.

Also, they say they still have the old lavabit accounts for reactivation, so I am going to see if they can re-activate my old accounts there.

In theory, they may have all the old mail too. I suspect that during the court case, deletion of emails would have been seen as tampering of evidence, so chances are they may still have your original data, as well as the original accounts.


Stallman's Free Software Foundation says we need a free phone OS


Re: Before we get a proper free phone OS.

Well the Neo900 guys are working to make a Nokia N900 replacement that is totally open hardware and software:


It is coming along, but like all crowd funded projects, lacking in marketing, so few people are aware of it to contribute, so the estimated per-unit cost is still quite high. In theory if enough people are interested the costs for the end user should drop.


Facebook bans Russia's RT ahead of Trump's Inauguration Day (then changes its mind)


Re: Zuck

> how is it that in a nation with so many guns, he can just walk down the street without fear of imminent assassination?

He is rich enough to afford his own security detail, his own massive houses with high walls and big doors, and most likely will spend most of his time socialising within those same walls, or within the walls of other likewise rich people.

As for how he gets between those different places, there are many ways. However I doubt he will just walk a street alone like that. Even if someone didn't mind him personally and didn't want him dead, an opportunity for a kidnapping and some ransom money payout from the family would cross certain minds.

In many ways, the rich live a far more imprisoned life than the rest, the metaphorical "golden handcuffs". It is far worse if you are famous though. If you are rich and anonymous, you can just attempt to blend in, and most will not know your net worth. However if you are rich and famous, then you can't go anywhere without being recognised for what you are.


NASA fires first shot in plan to bring a chunk of asteroid down to Earth


Re: In the movies, this never ends well

> In the movies, this never ends well

Unless you got Bruce Willis, then it's all good...


'Exploding e-cig cost me 7 teeth, burned my face – and broke my sink!'


Re: So...

> Gas powered daily life (YouTube)

I must be one of the few people who saw that ad when it came out and thought "How awesome would that be". The ad of course, was about how awful it would be, lol. Thanks for the share, I actually forgot about it over time.

Icon because I must have flammable liquids coursing through my veins or something.


Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8


> Does anyone actually believe that these are the worlds richest people?

No, these are the world richest people based on declared wealth. I.e. you declare your wealth, primarily for taxation purposes.

Your Rothschild's et al are unlikely to declare all (or any) of their wealth. In fact it is highly likely that the real 1% are not even known publically, because why would you draw attention to yourself by going "hurr hurr look how rich I am". That is very "new money" behaviour.

The old money just buys power and influence, and controls by proxy. Why paint a big target on yourself by getting into a public pissing contest over who is richer?

Some of these families are richer than entire countries, so they don't really need to brag.


Re: Intentions over words

> If they did reduce their salaries to that of the common man/woman, there would be no one at work in their swanky offices in Oxford.

Where are the Oxfam offices?

The only one I could find in Oxford was here:


And while a decent sized building based on Google street view, it doesn't seem that swanky. Looks more like any standard functional office block.


Oh, for F...acebook: WhatsApp, critics spar over alleged 'backdoor'


Re: Facebook?

> If you've done that and can still see your account details online, thats pretty much what I feared.

I think it depends on when you found out about the acquisition. I wasn't paying much attention, and only when it hit more "mainstream" news did I find out facebook was taking over whatsapp. Chances are at that point facebook may have already made it a point of the merger contract to not actually delete profiles.

If you found out earlier, than perhaps you stood a chance to extricate yourself from it. You can't be sure, even if someone tries to view/search for you via whatspp using your number (as it might just be "hidden").

Sometimes it feels like you have to be constantly on your toes and mobile technologically to stay out of the grasp of these companies.

As others have noted, most people don't realise/care so much, so unless you want to be that "one guy" nobody can get in touch with except through a dedicated app nobody else uses (and keeps changing), most people eventually give in.



So, a company that makes money spying on you, has been found to have a backdoor in one of its free apps to spy on you?

Colour me surprised! The only way you can fight this is by not using the service, and trying to discourage others from using it.

I left whatsapp the moment the Facebook purchase was mentioned. I also never liked the fact they could "restore my history" when I wiped and reinstalled my phone. That always told me than an entire copy of everything I have ever written is sitting somewhere on their servers.

However I don't seem to be able to delete my account. People who still use whatsapp mention my profile is still there and active, even though messages never get delivered. Not sure if you just have to wait a long while before they delete you, or, like facebook itself, once you check in, you can never check out (so you appear to be a "user" of the service in their market reports, even if you haven't logged in for years).


Train your self-driving car AI in Grand Theft Auto V – what could possibly go wrong?


Re: Surely they are using Carmageddon, aren't they?

> My weird neighbor is a programmer for an avionics company. There is an increasing list of planes I do not want to be a passenger in.

Friend of mine is a programmer for the aerospace industry, overseeing the fly-by-wire and other such systems. Not only is there a list of airplanes I don't want to fly in (including the two big ones), it is telling that most of the employees at said companies are of the same mind, and have their own personal planes (bonus as you work at what is essentially a private airport, they have airplane parking!) , all of which insist on those planes having all mechanical control (cables only).

I guess it makes sense, I insist on all mechanical control of my cars, for similar reasons. If I ever get the time and money I will see about a PPL, but for now I only fly if absolutely necessary.

Lord knows what I will do if they ban human driven cars in future, or I can't get a non fly-by-wire car. If I have enough money by then I might just consider moving out of those countries to places that are yet to implement such policies.


The top doc, the FBI, the Geek Squad informant – and the child porn pic that technically wasn't


Re: OC Weekly...

> "Hey, here's $500 to break into that person's car you just parked and see if you can find some shit on him."

Not that I disagree with your overall point, but the above isn't technically correct. The guy brought the laptop to them for repair.

A better car analogy is taking your car to a garage for a small repair, and they then take apart the interior to see if they can find any evidence of narcotics, which they then report to the feds for a fee.

(fun fact: if you ever bought a car second hand, especially something that was once an expensive, top of the range performance/luxury model, chances are a search will find some sort of narcotic residue somewhere inside)


EU wants power to fine behavioural data bad boys and the ad men aren't happy


The web as we know it?

> In a statement, the Internet Advertising Bureau said the "the future of the web as we know it" was in "danger".

Thank god for that! Good news! The current web is a cesspit of spying, tracking, and "walled gardens", not to mention being shoved crappy ads all day long, to the point we have an arms race between people forcing ads down our throats and people developing software to strip those same ads out.

The sheer waste of human resources in this arms race, not to mention the money, bandwidth, computing power, etc... is staggering.

If the IABs "future of the web" is threatened, then we should all rejoice! I doubt the average internet users idea for the "future of the web" matches what the IAB plan. May we live to see the day when the online advertisers are finally driven out, because with it most of the parasitic parts of the web will go as well.

I remember the web like "Alien Doctor 1.1" said above, when it was more academic in nature, rather than obsessed with screwing people (and I am not referring to the porn there, there was plenty of that on the net for as long as I remember). I don't see a problem going back to those times.


For Fark's sake! Fark fury follows 5-week ad ban for 5-year-old story


Re: New Year's resolution @voland's left eye

> Yes, of course Googletm is too powerful. We've often observed that folk who just use the WWW without much thought about how it all works believe that Google is the Internet.

And before google, people thought the "little e" was the internet, and don't forget those for who AOL was the internet. People don't change, but the company which defines the "internet" for them does.

I am sure there may be people out there for whom "facebook" is the new "internet" as well *shudder*


Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone


Re: I thought I invented it.

>That was the first market demographics - iPod users happy to buy one who could also make calls. But that's also were Nokia failed spectacularly - it was by nature phone-centric. Its models where phones that could also make something else. True smartphones are instead little computers that can also make phone calls. In many ways Treo/Palm and Windows CE anticipated it, but especially the latter tried to bring a "desktop" UI on tiny devices (and designed UIs around a stylus and a physical keyboard). the iPod probably taught Apple you need a proper "finger based" UI for this kind of devices - especially for the consumer market - and multitouch solved a lot of problems.

I don't know exactly why Nokia failed, but it wasn't because their smart phones were "phone centric". The N900, N810 and N800 are to this day far more "little computers" than any other smartphone so far. Indeed, as they ran a Debian Linux derivative with a themed Enlightenment based desktop, which is pretty much off the shelf Linux software. While they didn't have multitouch, you could use your finger on the apps no problem. It had a stylus for when you wanted extra precision though.

I could apt-get (with some sources tweaking) what I wanted outside of their apps. You could also compile and run proper Linux desktop apps on it, including openoffice (back in the day). It ran like a dog and didn't fit the "mobile-UI" they created, but it worked.

It also had a proper X server, so I could forward any phone app to my big PC if I didn't feel like messing about on a small touchscreen. To this day I miss this ability. To just connect via SSH to my phone over wifi, run an smartphone app, and have it appear on my desktop like any other app would.

It had xterm, it had Perl built in, it had Python (a lot of it was written in Python), you even could install a C toolchain on it and develop C code on it. People ported standard desktop UIs on it, and with a VNC/RDP server you could use it as a portable computer just fine (just connect to it using a thin client, or a borrowed PC).

I had written little scripts to batch send New years SMS to contacts, and even piped the output of "fortune" to a select few numbers just for kicks (the days with free SMS, and no chat apps). To this day I have no such power on my modern phones.

Damn, now that I think back, it really was a powerful piece of kit. I actually still miss the features *sniff*

And now that I think about it, In fact I suspect they failed because their phones were too much "little computers" at a time when people wanted a phone. Few people (outside of geeks) wanted to fiddle with X-forwarding, install SSH, script/program/modify, or otherwise customise their stuff.

Arguably the one weakest app on the N900 was the phone application itself, which was not open source, so could not be improved by the community, so much so people used to say it wasn't really a phone, rather it was a computer with a phone attached, which is exactly what I wanted.


Top cop: Strap Wi-Fi jammers to teen web crims as punishment


Re: Every so often...

"With USB devices, if you plug it straight into the computer you can bypass passwords and get right on the system," RAF Wing Commander Peter D'Ardenne told Reuters."

I wish my iPod would do that.


Back in the day of firewire ipods (early 2000's) this was possible. Firewire allowed RDMA, so a firewire ipod with the correct firmware could be plugged into a machine, and override the security allowing you to unlock machines just by plugging in said ipod.

I was at the talk back then, and I still have the talk + ipod firmware kicking around. For testing I tried on my (then windows XP) machine, and it worked a treat.

The firmware, was actually a fully loaded Linux OS on the ipod, which would then path the host machines RAM to bypass security features.

Firewire is no longer mainstream, and its replacement bus type system (thunderbolt) has a IOMMU to prevent these attacks from occurring.

The guy didn't get it completely right as he said USB (were there even USB ipod back then? I thought they were all firewire), and USB can't do that, but there was some truth to the idea of getting hacked by an ipod.

EDIT: Can't find the original talk right now (it has been 10 years at least), but here is a 2008 article about it: http://www.pcworld.com/article/143236/article.html

EDIT2: Found the slides from the 2006 talk: http://www.security-assessment.com/files/presentations/ab_firewire_rux2k6-final.pdf


Man jailed for 3 days after Texas cops confuse cat litter for meth


Re: Only TRULY GIGANTIC lawsuits will stop this...

>After seeing my folded suit inside my suitcase he immediately let me go. In his mind a person in jeans and T-shirt coming from Holland who showed hesitation at the customs channels was a potential drug smuggler.

Presumably then, all the successful drug smugglers arrive from Holland wearing suits?


MongoDB ransom attacks soar, body count hits 27,000 in hours


Re: Had it coming...

> and they "can't" change it because it was hard coded throughout their products.

Worst case scenario, have they never heard of find/replace? Specifically "sed" will find replace text across the whole data set. Of course a poor solution compared to doing it properly, but surely better than leaving the default password across every single production "product" they sell.

> How do they find customers ? Care to name the shame ? Whistleblower and all that ...

I am actually liking the idea of having some sort of whistleblower type site, where workers can anonymously name and shame company products that are this bad. However you would have to find a way to stop companies falsely bad mouthing each others products on the site, as well as disgruntled ex-workers.

Saying that, if someone says the app is crap because it uses the default mysql password everywhere, it is easy to test that, so I guess having only "verified problems" listed could possibly work.


CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers


Re: Project Valerie

> Not much use as a "latop" but seriously neat for a portable development machine.

I was going to come here to post the same thing. I know people in the oil and aeronautical defense industries, and they would love something like this. Especially as (AFAIK) no laptops support two extra screens in addition to the main one (at best you can add one external monitor, but my info might be out of date)

They have their nice dual/triple screen setups at the office, but when they get shipped abroad to work in the field, you can only really take what fits in carry on luggage. So they usually have to make do with much less screen estate.

The aeronautical guy used to have the "dual screen" fold out thinkpad from a while back, and he really liked it (although he said he wished it had full size second screen, rather than the portrait one). Apparently when doing some CATIA work you want as much screen real estate as you can get.

As such there is a demand for things like Valerie. Think of it less as a "laptop" and more a "luggable computer", something that packs up nice and easy, but you can unpack it on a desk to use as a portable workstation.

These people don't mind if it is an inch thick, as long as it fits into carry on, the extra weight they will survive (it will definitely be smaller and lighter than a laptop + 2 normal monitors & stands packed away) and usually they get decent expense budgets, so they could buy the machine if it is what they needed (saw one of them spend £10,000 on a desktop workstation, so no shortage of money for the right tool there)


FM now stands for 'fleeting mortality' in Norway


Re: DAB+

> raspberryPi zeros into internet radio reception devices to put into all my current FM devices

Personally, what I would do, is see if I can could wire up the PI's to those personal FM transmitters you can buy online for car radios. That way you don't have to modify every single FM receiver in your house, and you have a central place to control it (if you felt like it, you could program the transmitters to use the same frequency the radio station used before, so that it is pretty much seamless, and you keep your stored stations on the radio).


Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'


Re: Will it.....

> Your spot on in all your points, it is only the "refuel/recharge time" that is last element to be resolved, and that is only an issue for long distance journeys.

There is at least one other element. Battery wear. An IC cars fuel tank will hold 60 litres, whether it is brand new, or 30 years old. With proper maintenance, an IC engine will provide more or less the same power output throughout its life. Meaning that a cars range is pretty fixed. If it can do 500 miles today, chances are in 10 years it can do 450-500 miles still.

An electric cars range is reported when new, however the battery packs wear out with every charge cycle. How long will a battery last before you can't do more than 30 miles on a charge? How much would it cost to replace the pack? Would it be more than the car is worth after 10 years?

The battery technology is the same as used in my phone. When it was new, it would last about 3 days on a charge. After a year and a half, it only lasts about 4-5 hours. This is a fully managed battery, with all kinds of energy saving and smart charging firmware.

If an electric car is similar in battery wear, then after 3-5 years the car becomes pretty useless unless a brand new battery pack is installed. Batteries are pretty expensive (I seem to remember somewhere that the Tesla battery is around £16,000 after government discounts and other green subsidies), so the car may well drop in value like a brick after buying new.

The energy cost in mining, refining, and building the lithium, then collecting it, reprocessing/recycling it will probably end up using more energy and causing more pollution than just sticking to some sort of chemical fuel (doesn't have to be fossil based).

Alternatively you just start treating cars as a consumable item than a long term investment, but scrapping and building new cars ever few years in a refresh cycle sounds like it would consume even more energy (and generate more pollution) than just doing it once and keeping the car for longer periods.

Another issue is that batteries don't do well with hot-cold cycles. Batteries self discharge faster in cold weather, so you will find your range is reduced based on the outside temperature. Also running heating will reduce your range, or running air-con. in an IC car heating will not reduce your range (it is essentially "free") and while aircon will reduce your range, it doesn't do it by much. An IC car will also not self discharge when unused.


Hackers could turn your smart meter into a bomb and blow your family to smithereens – new claim


Re: "Smart meters are 'dangerously insecure'"

> If your electricity meter is outside your house, your electrictiy co is doing it very very wrong.

I don't know where you live, but every single property I have lived/rented/been in, had the electricity meter outside the property.

The only place where I didn't see this was an old victorian house. There the wiring entered in the cellar, and the electricity meter was in there, with wiring going off everywhere else.

I think most post victorian built buildings have the meter outside, so the electricity man can check/repair/alter the meter without needing entry into the house.

Bonus: You don't have to be in for the electricity engineer to come work on the meter or read off the values.

Downside: You can't stop them working on the meter by denying them entry to your home. In theory if the government decide in future, they can replace your meter with a smart one with nothing more than a notification. If it is in the house, they would need your permission to enter to do the install, and you could refuse.


Joe Public likes drones and regulations, finds UK.gov 'public dialogue'


> I'm rather confused how my 130mm racer will carry any transceivers for identification, also wondering how my 150mm racer will manage to carry anything apart from the minimal configuration it already has.

Simple, you won't be allowed to use them anymore. Isn't regulation wonderful! </sarc>

While being a bit flippant (and I admit regulation helps in some areas) it is not uncommon for regulation to stamp out an innocent minority as "collateral damage" (as the powers that be like to call it).

For example, the government decided certain chemicals can be used in bomb making. making noxious gases, or are used in meth labs. Therefore they heavily restricted their usage/purchase ability. This negatively affects the "amateur chemist", who may just do it as a hobby and has no interest in breaking the law. With some loons willing to throw acid in other peoples faces, even basic acids are now being restricted.

That is why modern chemistry sets are so neutered compared to the ones of old. Pretty much killed the home chemistry set, and the hobby around it.

In these situations the government decides that the damage caused to a minority is worth the benefits of the regulation/restriction to "the public".

Whether that is true or whether it is a power grab is not relevant, it will be sold as "the public good trumps a minority".


Ridiculously small Linux build lands with ridiculously few swears


Re: Finally something small about Linux

> Fortunately, there *is* something you can do about it: employ a professional sysadmin who knows how to build a Linux-based OS,

Bullshit. This isn't a "not good enough sysadmin" issue. In the real world, time is money, a good sysadmin's time is even more money. You don't want to have to do a default install, then spend ages ripping out what you didn't want in the first place in order to lock it down.

The right answer is that the install just installs the bare minimum, then you can add/open/etc... to your hearts content. Far easier to add onto a clean slate, rather than work out what someone else added for you, then work out how to rip it out without breaking anything (and preventing future updates undoing your work).

Not to mention, things like systemd you cannot just remove. Thank god we have Devuan out there as an alternative, but most companies will be loathe to change the entire OS and their library stack after investing lots of time/effort into redhat centric methodology.

Linux's strengths were that it was:

- lightweight

I remember back when Linux users would brag that you could fit the OS on a single floppy, with lots of useful tools. There were even competition to see who could cram the most onto a 3.5inch floppy

- immensely configurable

you could rip almost everything out. In fact you used to be able to write the kernel to the boot sector and just boot that way, without anything else, not even a bootloader. There was a goal to write everything to "do one job, and do it well", allowing the end user to mix and match programs like lego blocks, making the system do things the original authors never envisaged.

- Fast

Its low memory footprint, coupled with a design targeting low end hardware with a goal to running well on it, meant that on powerful hardware it would absolutely fly. It also meant you could make use of hardware others had long since discarded as "too slow to run windows".

- Open source

If the above was not enough, you can hack on the code on an lower level to get it to do what you want. Bonus points is it will help you learn how to program (that is how I learned).

Out of the four above, only the last one is still true, which is a damn shame. Sometimes you want to just organise things in a way that gets the results you want, not have to hack on the code (and then keep track of upstream changes) to get it to work. Also not everyone is good enough a coder to make the changes, while most competent computer users could string small programs together given an understanding on how they work.

Also, while there is little need to fit on a floppy, a general goal towards keeping the bloat down and everything fast and lean seems to have been abandoned.

Linux really lost the plot. The kernel alone is almost 5MB last I checked, and there is a push to a more windows-like mass integration of programs rather than the UNIX way. I suspect as Linux became mainstream and "the next big thing" a lot of ex-Windows dev's and admins jumped on the bandwagon, and started making things work more like what they are used to, which was the main reason Windows was such a steaming pile in the first place.

The only saving grace of Linux, is that Windows has been getting progressively worse as well, so given the choice, I would still (and do) use Linux on the desktop. However I have started a slow move to BSD for servers. In my future I can imagine Linux will be for desktops (as long as things like Devuan are about), and BSD for servers.


Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush


Re: Fantastic!

> Also included is a mic

And eventually we find out even these have been compromised. Before if you wanted a private conversation you told people to leave their phones in another room. Now you need to tell people to put out their hairbrushes and god knows what else out of the room too.

A hairbrush with a mic, for gods sake! If there was something which I thought would never need a microphone, it was a hairbrush, followed by the shower head, or possibly my toilet bowl. Although I am sure someone is working on it somewhere...

In this wonderful future planned for us, everything will have a mic, so if you don't want to be recorded, monitored and every single thing "shared" with god knows who, you will have to end up living in a shack in the mountains somewhere, and whittle your own brushes and things.

At least for things that fit in a microwave, the electrics can be disabled. but we will see how things go in future.

On a related note, I didn't notice anywhere in the article a mention on how this thing is powered, nor how long it lasts on a charge. Is this yet another thing you have to plug in to charge? Do you now have to remember to buy batteries for this too? Or will the act of vigorously brushing your hair charge it up, not unlike those emergency torches?


US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry


Re: Dystopian future on the way?

> Not what we were promised.

With all due respect, nobody promised you anything. Unless you count what marketing tells you as a "promise", in which case I've got a bridge to sell you.

Technology is a tool, it can enslave, or it can liberate, which way it goes very much depends on who has control of the tool.

This is why centralisation is so dangerous. A distributed system would be much harder for any one entity to control (current example: Bitcoin), whereas a cloud based solution like this (where one company has control) the power is concentrated, and can be abused.

If this Amazon Echo thingy had local processing, and local storage, and was only connected to the local network, that would a very liberating tool because it (and the data) is under your control, as a sovereign entity.

However that isn't how it is designed (obviously, more money to be made if everything is under the companies control), so here we are.

Now some may argue that if it helps solve a murder, it is a great future and we should have more of it, however I don't think having everything and everyone recorded, monitored and tracked "just in case" a crime is committed is a good idea. If that is what someone wants, they can go live in a prison.


'DNC hackers' used mobile malware to track Ukrainian artillery – researchers



Whichever side of the conflict you back (if any at all), I do find it quite interesting. Possibly a first example of "cyberwar" being waged. Not on its own, but as a tactic directed against a military force as part of a wider military operation. It was malware, targeting a specific app only useful to people manning artillery, which provided very useful location data for where the artillery would be (the app is being run by an artilleryman when they ware using artillery, pretty clear cut case of a valid military target).

The military has been talking about "cyberwar" for years now, but it always seemed like some undefined nebulous concept. So far all battles so far have been with one technologically advanced side against another less technologically advanced, so any "cyberwar" involved mostly script kiddies defacing the other sides sites, the odd DDOS, and spreading propaganda.

Here we see it applied between two "advanced" opponents, with a direct military benefit for one side due to an exploit used against the other. I wonder if in future they will limit soldiers access and use of smartphones. They are basically mini spies in your pocket, even when not compromised.

Up until now the closest we had was stuxnet, however that was more disrupting enemy industry in peacetime, than what I would call an active war.


Raspberry Pi Zero gains a camera connector


Re: expensive

> Strange then that I've had it running for weeks on two Pis ( a Pi 2 and P 3) with the 'built-in' cameras. Just need the bcm2835_v4l2 module to use motion.

Indeed, one of the first things I did when the original Pi came out was buy the Pi camera, install motion and have it monitor my car to find out who was vandalising it. It is still going strong, but is now a rasbpi3 instead.

As parent mentioned, the Internet is full of people using the Pi as a cheap CCTV system.

As for my new project ideas, I am looking into seeing how good a RasbPi camera is for astrophotography. Currently doing reference shots and getting the software written for long exposure RAW image capture, then fetching of images via the network to my processing box. After that will look into active cooling to reduce thermal noise.

I am also thinking of replacing my Mini-ITX firewall with the rasbpi2 (alas, the 3 doesn't support FreeBSD yet). Does anyone know how good the pi2 is with three USB/ethernet adaptors? Ideally what kind of throughput (and number of connections) can it handle as I do get around 50mbit/sec on my broadband, and quite a lot of connections.


Sayonara North America: Insurance guy got your back when Office 365 doesn't?


Re: Business Decision

> And when it is the CEO pushing for it, and the IT/CFO team against all things cloudy?

Then the board will rip the CEO a new one. If the board pushes for it (I don't see why they would, it is not within their purview) and it crashes and burns, well it was their money (or the shareholders, which can sue the board if there is a case to answer).

At least that is how it is supposed to work, admittedly it doesn't always.


Re: So...

> it seems you can fool some of the people all of the time

That reminds me of the saying "You can fool some people all of the time, or all people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people, all of the time", at least how I heard it.

A saying that seems to be more and more true the more times I experience things in life.


Name's BOND, JBOND: Igneous's ARM strap-on is for your drives only


I actually quite like this idea

If they marketed an ARM based add on like this that just gave out ISCSI or AoE, it would be pretty cool. I could scale out my storage server just by plugging in more drives into a switch. Would not need to worry if I have enough SATA ports, or if I need another SATA card, or even need to have the drives in the same place as the NAS.

Both ISCSI and AoE allow for concurrent access, so could even distribute storage between my machines as and when needed, without having to unplug and replug drives.


Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?


I had a similar experience with a (suspected) lady of negotiable affections

So while doing side jobs as a student in Oxfordshire, I was called out to repair a webcam. Ended up going to a tidy apartment on the outskirts of Oxford where the webcam (facing the bed) had stopped working. Whoever installed the webcam ran the cable into the nearby cupboard, so I asked her if I could open it to have a look.

She got a bit embarrassed, but I explained to her that the computer was most likely in there, and to fix the problem I will have to have a look in the cupboard, so she relented.

The cupboard was opened, and I was exposed to a whole range of erotica. We are talking cat suits, whips, cuffs, all kinds of heels, including some fetching studded knee length high heeled boots, strap ons, the full monty. I had never seen such a collection of sex toys and tools before.

The girl really looked sheepish, so I broke the ice and complemented her on her taste, after that she relaxed a bit. Fixed the webcam, and got talking.

Out of courtesy I didn't ask her exactly what she did for a living, but I could hazard a guess and she implied as such. The most memorable thing I remember is her telling me that after a couple of years renting that flat, she had earned enough to buy a massive house down the road for cash, and was moving out soon.

This was a woman who was 23 years old at the time, I could not even imagine renting, let alone buying such a house mortgage free. Indeed, 10 years later here I am, struggling for afford a mortgage on a tiny hovel of a flat, thinking maybe I went into the wrong business.

I do wonder what happened to her, if she settled down, and if she ever told her partner how she earned the money for that house all those years ago.


Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged


Re: This is great news...

Indeed, I had no idea anyone challenged it at all. The way the UK media reported it, it was tabled, the little people moaned and protested, however the plebs are unimportant and can just be ignored, so it was passed. Then the Queen gave her approval and that was it. Welcome to 1984.

Still, once they have the data, do you think a ruling from the EU is going to stop them using it for all and sundry? The ruling only helps us if they actually follow it, and they are not exactly going to enforce the rule against themselves. It would be up to individuals to challenge the legality of the data used against them by the government, which I imagine would be nothing more than a small inconvenience to the state.


Murdoch's 21st Century Fox agrees £18.5bn Sky takeover deal


Re: More like Russia under Yeltsin every day

> That begs the almost deafening question, "WHAT'S THE WESTERN MEDIA's EXCUSE?"

The western media are the tools of their respective western governments? The whole "RT is a tool of the Russian government" thing is a rather public example of the pot calling the kettle black, IMO.

You cannot trust any media to tell you the truth. Personally I read them all, and then use my mental faculties to get an idea of what is actually going on in the world.

Admittedly the use of mental faculties has been going out of fashion in the last few years, with more and more people willing to delegate the task of thinking to machines, or other humans, neither of which may have the persons best intentions in mind.


Uber-creepy: Dial-a-ride devs accused of stalking pop diva Beyonce


> when the company got word of a pending police raid,

A "pending police raid"? What, do the police call up and book a raid in advance?

Otherwise Uber is even more shady that I already thought. Got "their people" inside the police? Or just much bribery?

Police raids are a big deal, so normally you don't know in advance when they will raid you, precisely to prevent tampering/destruction of evidence. The Mob usually uses bribery (or gets one of their men on the inside as a mole) to get forewarned of Police raids.


Icelandic Pirate Party sails away from attempt to form government


Re: Trade?

> Swapping Cowboys for Pirates?

> What's the worst that could happen?

Hmm... needs more Ninja's. Then things could get interesting...


If your smart home gear hasn't updated recently, throw it in the trash


> (and, it has been rumoured, printers leave ID'ing marks on the paper in some sort of specific dot pattern).

Not a rumour, been confirmed since 2005. Some links:




Also, they tried very hard to turn off AM/FM, and replace it with DAB and DAB+. There was a hard switch off for analogue radio which was like the one for analogue video, but it was realised there were just too many devices out there for a sharp cut off like they did with TV.

Don't worry, I am sure they are busy finding ways to get rid of radio as well. It might just take a bit longer.


Firmware freakout sends Epson Wi-Fi printers into reboot loop


Re: Alternative Solution

I installed a CISS system in my A3 Epson, precisely because as you mentioned, the cartridges don't even last one A3 print, and not only does it interrupt a print (so you have to manually be there) sometimes the replacement ink is a bit of a different mixture, so end up with shade differences, which is obvious on a photo print.

The CISS has been excellent so far, and no problems with the heads. Just make sure to set the printer to auto turn off after a couple of hours (I set it to 2) as when parked the heads are prevented from drying out.

I buy ink by the bottle, and it turns out cheaper than having a laser printer, plus can print on all kinds of different materials.

Looking at this Epson Ecotank, looks like they cottoned on to the CISS concept, and producing their own version. Good on on them, but you might find your printer is already supported by third parties, and you can use Epsons own ink bottles in it if you want.

As for the article, I tried once to enable Wifi on it, could not be faffed after some struggle, and plugged it into a rasbpi to act as a print server. I can do just fine with ethernet and/or USB on a printer, thanks. I don't need the other features.


Russia's bid for mobile self-sufficiency may be the saviour of Sailfish


Re: CE marked hardware

I am happy about SailfishOS. My old n900 bit the bullet in 2014 after 5 years of loyal service, and no Android phone so far has even come close to its flexibility, functionality and hackability. All I got was fancier animated effects, and far more intrusive spying and locked in apps, that gets harder and harder to strip out.

I am getting tired of having to fight my phone to do what I want it to do. I still believe that if a device is mine, it should listen and do what I want it to do, not some third party.

While what you say is true, there is one thing that is looking promising. Sailfish has no problems with you trying to port the OS to other phones. They call it "Hardware adaptation kit" (https://sailfishos.org/wiki/Hardware_Adaptation_Development_Kit) which I consider a bit of a misnomer, as you are not adapting hardware to the software, but ok.

It would be nice to build a community a bit like Cyanogen mod, and have people work on wide ranging device support. That way we don't have to rely on gray market imports (at least while we can get phones that are flashable).

After this news, I am tempted to see if I can port Sailfish to one of my Samsungs (Either the S5 or note 4, not sure which). Both have AOSP and Cyanogen mod builds, so in theory should be able to use the kernel and binary/modem modules from that as the base for a Sailfish OS, giving actual usability as a phone.

Likewise, I don't want either Android or Apple phones in future, especially if Google is moving away from open source Linux based Android into their own proprietary OS.


GET pwned: Web CCTV cams can be hijacked by single HTTP request


Re: Who writes this crap?

> Seriously? What clueless buffoon thought this was an acceptable way to read into an array?

The kind which cost you £3.50 an hour to hire.

That is fundamentally the problem. When anybody can pick up "programming for dummies" and get hired as a programmer, you end up with a race to the bottom, until companies are scraping the bottom of the barrel for the cheapest software that works long enough to be able to sell the product, and not much else.

There is no bare minimum "fit for purpose" standards for software, just like there is no accreditation for "software engineering". It does mean software is a far easier industry to get involved in, and maybe get your big break. It also means intelligent people can get a job even if they don't have a fancy degree and expensive accreditation, or even a formal education.

However the flip side is that anyone can call themselves a programmer, and get hired. As long as they are a lot cheaper than others, they will see work. This is especially true for software, which really can be done anywhere in the world (as long as there is a computer and Internet connection), allowing for outsourcing to the cheapest country/people possible.


Grand App Auto: Tesla smartphone hack can track, locate, unlock, and start cars


Re: Going stone-age

You also have to take into account how obvious it is that someone is stealing a car.

With old cars. the thief has to break a window, start hammering through the door with a screwdriver to break the lock, or otherwise obviously make a lot of noise and draw attention to themselves in order to steal a car. Ever see someone trying to break a steering lock? It is obvious a mile away what they are doing. That is ignoring the fact that even mechanically locked cars have alarm systems that make an awful din if someone starts breaking in.

Then they have to drive the car with the broken window and holes in the door/lock, not get noticed by coppers (who are trained to notice these things), and of course not had the car reported stolen (which because they made a massive din, means either you noticed, or one of your neighbours did and reported it)

This modern connected car can be hacked remotely, using an app, then the thief just walks up like he owns it, opens it normally, gets in and drives off.

Not to mention with mechanical locks, you need to be in the know. Most thieves learn about different cars, their mechanical weaknesses, where exactly to hammer the screwdriver to break the lock (if you get it wrong, the mechanical failsafe engages, the lock will jam and you won't be able to do anything else to it), etc.... You even get thieves that specialise in particular makes and models.

With connected cars, someone writes an app that does it, and sells it to wannabe criminals over the Internet, who just have to run said software/appliance, and then just drive off. Not much local training required. It is like the difference with hackers and script kiddies, except now being applied to cars.

There are not many skilled car thieves out there, but there are a lot of "script kiddie" equivalents who can run software. Like with those BMWs a few years back. Someone smart/well_funded/skilled cracked the BMW key fob and sold an app that would allow you to start any BMW assuming you could plug a dongle into its OBD2 port. As a result people who could not normally steal cars due to lack of ability, could just buy the software + dongle, and go at it. So many BMWs were stolen that insurance companies started refusing to insure them.

I agree with the original poster, all my cars are non-connected older cars (early 80s), and one has had many attempts to be stolen (thankfully the local yobbos don't know how to break the lock). I did retrofit alarms to the cars, and since then nobody has damaged them during their attempts.

Due to the sheer amount of pointless electronics and software in cars, I have no interest in anything post 2005 car wise. Even some of the 90s cars were getting too electronic, but those can still be dealt with.


Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales


"Analyst Gartner reported some time ago one reason for the slow down in the once-booming smartphone market was the fact that customers are holding onto their phones for longer – up to 2.5 years – and are less inclined to jump on the latest models."

You don't say? Why would I trade a phone that does everything I need, and has a replaceable battery and external SD card slot ( I'm currently happy with 64GB extra in the slot, 96GB in total) with one that has neither of those features (and if it is an Apple, no headphone socket either).

The only advantage is that the new phones are faster (mine is fast enough), have a newer OS with more spying and features I don't need, and are more locked down hardware wise.

They are probably thinner and possibly look more stylish in modern fashion sense, but for me a phone is a tool, not a fashion statement. Especially when I look at prices for new phones.

Until a new phone offers everything my old one does, and more new stuff to justify the cost, I will keep buying the older gen phones second hand. Being able to replace the battery means the phone can just keep going and going until something more serious breaks (even the LCD screen can be replaced on my phone, and has been twice so far).

Presumably this is why manufacturers don't want to offer the above. In this consumer disposable society, people like me must be the devil incarnate. How dare I not just chuck the phone every two years and buy a new shiny for £600 (and don't kid yourselves, you always pay for the phone, even the "free phone" 24 month contracts have the phone price baked in).


Post-outage King's College London orders staff to never make their own backups


Re: What to do, what to do?

"Please tell me how you make your backups offsite or off the network when USB ports are blocked and read/write access to the C drive is blocked too, and emails are limited to 25 megabytes."

I would zip the files up into one big one, split it into 20MB chunks, and send them that way. On Unix/Linux at least, it would not be a particularly hard script to write, nor to reassemble on the other side.

However, if your place of work has a policy against sending data out, you can't use this method unless you want disciplinary action taken against you.


KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss


Re: Always back up your data!

> Can we take this opportunity to discuss our own domestic data backup arrangements and weigh them up?

Sure thing.

Main resource is a 4U rackmount server, running freeBSD and ZFS (24TB RAM, 6 core AMD), and 4 * 3TB raidz2 for main storage, 3x 1TB raid0 for scratch, with a UPS. Main file server, and runs quite a few VMs and background processing.

Backup is:

- daily snapshot && backup to a 6TB external drive

- monthly full zfs backup to another 6TB external drive

- weekly rsync's of core data to my friends server in France (and in return he syncs his backups to my machine, bit of a virtual "disk swap" backup on each others boxes going on).

So far have suffered lightning strikes, floods, two massive array failures and an over active squirrel without losing data. ZFS in particular is amazing, as it can restrict failures to block level, so even when array was trashed, 70% of the data was still accessible because different parts of different disks had failed. So far have had to restore from external disk twice.

It seems like a very resilient setup, and everything is scripted so I have nothing to do (except put the external backup drive in the slot). The two external drives are key for quick restores, the offsite backup is just to fill in anything that may be missing locally after the restore.

Likewise when my friends server bit the bullet, he was able to get his core data back from my machine, so it really helps to have an off site backup. This setup is a like-for-like swap, and it implies a certain level of trust (otherwise you can just encrypt everything before you send it across).