* Posts by cyberdemon

179 posts • joined 26 Jan 2010

Page:

No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

cyberdemon
Devil

(deliberately?) stupid meters

Apart from the reasons discussed already (1: being switched off remotely, either for "load-shaping" by your supplier, or "cyberattack" by anyone else.. 2: having my data slurped and sold to any and all interested parties 3: being locked into a particular supplier 4: being made to pay a variable rate depending on the suppliers's ability to supply...)

The other reason I hate smart meters, and would never consensually have one installed, is that I don't trust them to read accurately.

The old electromagnetic meters read "true RMS" by virtue of a magnetic force acting on a spinning disc -the moment of inertia of the disc will ultimately average out any transients.

Smart Meters on the other hand, are purely electronic, and don't necessarily read True RMS (because they employ discrete sampling).

There was a huge fiasco last year with Smart Meters over-reading. I don't know how much of it has been fixed now, and which meters are OK..

They would sample only at the peak of the mains voltage sine-wave. This is a problem for any device whose front-end component is a bridge rectifier (this includes most LED lights, most laptop power supplies, and cheaper desktop power supplies without PFC).

Current only flows through the diode bridge when the mains voltage is higher than the DC capacitor voltage, and that only happens at the peak of the mains waveform. But the "smart" meter would sample the peak current, and assume that it was sinusoidal and in-phase with the voltage. But in reality, the current at everywhere else but the sampling point, is near zero.

Thus, smart meters would over-read by several times for LED lighting in particular.

see: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/06/smart_meters_prove_dim/

6
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Foot lose: Idiot perv's shoe-mounted upskirt vid camera explodes

cyberdemon
Facepalm

Smoking boots

Congrats to El Reg for finding this gem for the 'Bootnotes' section.

49
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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

cyberdemon
Unhappy

Git for Business

Which obviously is totally incompatible with actual Git, and requires Silverlight. But it has an app for your Zune.

2
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Dinosaurs permitted to mate: But what does AT&T Time merger mean for antitrust – and you?

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: "The US approach maximises consumer welfare"

@Andrew: Even with that simplistic definition of Consumer Welfare, it does not necessarily follow that prices will be lower under a monopoly.

8
1

Russia appears to be 'live testing' cyber attacks – Former UK spy boss Robert Hannigan

cyberdemon
Holmes

Ivan, it's called sarcasm.

2
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Is Microsoft about to git-merge with GitHub? Rumors suggest: Yes

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: GitLab

First I've heard of Gogs. It sounds interesting.. I will give it a try.

Also, please forgive my above posts in favour of GitLab, as it's the only good (though admittedly slow) not-GitHub I know/knew.

9
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cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Everyone simply leaves

The only tricky part is migrating all the extra bits that GitHub itself provides, e.g. issues, comments, wikis, continuous integration etc.

For that you need an import tool that uses their API e.g. https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/project/import/github.html

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cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Forgot an option to Q2

It should at least have a CowboyNeal option

8
1
cyberdemon
Devil

Re: I can't think of anything much worse

completely agree - this would be disastrous for GitHub. But that might be the plan.

This all sounds about as healthy for GitHub as the time when Microsoft had installed a stooge CEO to dump the share prices but definitely weren't about to buy Nokia, because that would almost certainly be illegal. And then they did.

I am personally convinced the only reason Microsoft bought Nokia is because Nokia had a dangerously good debian-based smartphone OS which they wanted dead: Maemo

Don't forget the old mantra when it comes to open source: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

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4
cyberdemon
Devil

GitLab

Is the best alternative to GitHub that I know.

It is properly free (there's a debian package for it in sid), so you can host your own private instance if you wish.

Also where are the 97+ who voted "Good"? They need to come into the comments section for their flaming.

Then again, astroturfing isn't a new thing to Microsoft.

21
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UK.gov's use of black box algorithms to decide stuff needs watching

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: AI in government?: Accountability

That's the trouble with 'deep learning' style heuristics - they are utterly inscrutable, because the entire 'algorithm' (if you can even call it that) is completely dependent on the ENTIRE DATASET that it was trained on. That often amounts to Petabytes, and cannot possibly be audited. If the dataset is skewed (e.g. in the same direction that our society is skewed) then the resulting 'algorithm' will be skewed the same way. So it solves precisely nothing.

That said, I am quite worried about the "age of accountability" affecting well-meaning humans (e.g. teachers, doctors, police) being compared against machines and being expected to act like robots. The last time I dealt with police, they were scarily algorithmic, probably because they themselves were scared for their own jobs if they didn't follow their programming..'

As for GDPR - it limits the use of deep learning by "accountable" authorities like the police/HMRC/you/me/etc but anyone already operating outside the law/domicile is unaffected. So the likes of Facebork will get away 'scot' free, selling your data to all and sundry, mining it to determine your political preferences, and brainwashing you with Brexit/Trump/WWIII propaganda.

2
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EmDrive? More like BS drive: Physics-defying space engine flunks out

cyberdemon
Devil

One side of me says "why is the physics community even entertaining this idea - it was obviously B0110cks from the start" and the other says well, where would physics be if we all discounted out-of-hand any ideas which at first glance, appeared to be utter bollocks.

But on balance, my suspicion is, it's bollocks.

75
3

Supreme Court to dig into Google's very cosy $8.5m deal with lawyers over web search leak

cyberdemon
Paris Hilton

What's wrong with this?

Shurely the residents of Cyprus could do with the money?

Now where did I put my glassses

11
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Javid's in, Rudd's out: UK Home Sec quits over immigration targets scandal

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Rudd: You've been played

Lack of what a normal person would call competence, is a specific job requirement for the vast majority of our MPs, it seems.

As I see it, there are two types of British Politician / Civil Servant:

* The Visionary: Highly intelligent (more than they appear), often deceitful, scheming. There is only room for a handful of these, as they tend to conflict. Mrs. May falls into this category.

* The Lackey: Acts as a sock-puppet / attack-dog for a Visionary. Independent thought is an undesirable quality. Amber Rudd is so far along this end of the spectrum that she was prepared to throw herself under the bus to save her mistress..

Mrs. May is the most deceitful / malign 'Visionary' I have ever known in British Politics. I strongly suspect that during the Brexit referendum, the only reason that May backed 'Remain' was so that she could poison the campaign from the inside. Nobody liked her anyway, so they would vote against her.

It's the only thing that makes sense given her actions: Even before a Brexit referendum was even on the cards, as Home Secretary Theresa May was trying to bring us out of the European Convention on Human Rights, drafting the Investigatory Powers Act (aka Snooper's Charter) which I'm sure she knew full well was illegal under EU law, and fighting against the ECHR for powers to lock people up indefinitely without charge, which she conceded to 90 days, but was defeated and tried again with 28 days..

What I don't understand, is why the Pundits seem to think Rudd's departure is a blow for the pro-EU lobby.. If Amber Rudd truly held pro-EU beliefs, maybe she has finally realised that she has been played by Mrs. May?

19
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Upset Equation Editor was killed off? Now you can tell Microsoft to go forth and multiply: App back from the dead

cyberdemon

Kill it

I don't like the idea that there's a 17 year old binary within Word that even MS don't have the source code to.

It's time they replaced it with a proper LaTeX editor anyway!

9
1

Better filters won't cure this: YouTube's kids nightmare

cyberdemon
WTF?

Re: 70's disturbing TV

Ok, after having watched some of the videos referenced by TFA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlNKi5etxhk), this is a lot weirder than the Moomins!

4
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cyberdemon
Devil

Re: 70's disturbing TV

I wasn't around in the 70s but i found The Moomins pretty disturbing in the 90s!

3
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How many times can Microsoft kill Mobile?

cyberdemon
Facepalm

Re: I disagree.

> Windows Mobile - from 7.5/7.6 on was actually quite a nice way to use a phone

You're having a bubble bath?

MAEMO was a nice way to use a phone - really nice. Doubled up as a mobile SSH terminal, even had X11 forwarding support.

Unfortunately, Microsoft murdered it and its mother Nokia in an ultimately doomed attempt to push Windows Mobile!

9
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Google diversity memo: Web giant repudiates staffer's screed for 'incorrect assumptions about gender'

cyberdemon
Devil

Newspeak..

This.

Not to mention the Doublethink. It is almost a crime just to express an opinion that doesn't align with the HR/party line these days...

About 7 years ago I was on a graduate scheme in a UK company which produced traffic light controllers. I had placements in Hardware (Electronics/Embedded), Software, Operations, Urban Traffic Control, Business Development, Legal, IT and HR.

When I was on my placement in HR, they were busy preparing an Equality & Diversity policy, and I was brave/stupid enough to get into an argument with the head of HR.

The policy encouraged so-called 'positive discrimination' towards minority groups, and I asked why it was necessary or even legal - She was quite offended that I had asked these questions, but said it was because "there are no women in engineering", because they are discriminated against - and the more the company could do to offset that, the better.

Then I pointed out that despite her having no such policy in place previously, there were 4 women in the hardware/software engineering departments (out of about 25 engineers total) - which is not exactly parity but far from her claim of *no* women - but I notice in her HR team, of about 8, all of them (except for me) were women.

She got quite angry/red and claimed not to have known about the 4 women in engineering (which I found hard to believe from the head of HR) and we got along about as well as cats for the rest of my employment..

The problem, like others here have said, is much earlier on. It's pointless and quite counterproductive to try and make underqualified women feel 'entitled' to a job in tech, because recruitment should always be on merit. The problem is education, and making women and girls feel entitled to an *education* in tech.

The worst case of gender skew was my computer science course at uni. Out of an intake of about 200 electronics / computer science students, 3 were female. And now we blame employers for the lack of women in tech??

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'Real' people want govts to spy on them, argues UK Home Secretary

cyberdemon
Devil

"cunning as a shithouse rat"

Indeed. 'Stupid' is reserved for those who actually believe anything she says..

18
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Welcome to the Rise of the Machine-to-Machine. Isn't it time to 'block off' some data ducts?

cyberdemon
Terminator

Sod MGS2

I remember Deus Ex

(like The Matrix, there was only one Deus Ex)

0
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OnePlus cash equals 5: Rebel flagship joins upmarket Android crew

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: No microSD port?

> microSD port has an advantage without relying on cloud backups when your phone breaks.

This.

When I mentioned on the OnePlus forum that the reason I think the lack of MicroSD is a mistake is because I want to be able to BACK UP MY PHONE, the response from the fanbois was literally this: "Your microSD card may fail at any time, but the cloud never rains"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

That just epitomises where the whole tech industry is heading though: Don't worry your little heads about keeping your data safe - your data is safe with US - it's OUR data now! >:}

0
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FUKE NEWS: Robot snaps inside drowned Fukushima nuke plant

cyberdemon
Mushroom

Re: Go nuclear

@bad_beaver:

> Also, comparing natural levels of radiation that our miserable species has adapted to with a reactor meltdown seems ever so slightly off

I'm not so much talking about the immediate vicinity of a meltdown - that's probably quite dangerous (although the 'Fukushima 50' are all still alive, and 'the most radioactive man in britain' who gazed down the piles of Windscale while it was on fire and was subsequently banned from touching his wife/kids, lived to a ripe old age) - I'm talking about low-level emissions into the global environment - which are far more costly to control than meltdowns.

ALARA says that ANY emission, no matter how small (even a microgram of tritium up your air extraction stack) must be mitigated as far as reasonably achievable (i.e. to the Nth degree). Most 'low level' nuclear waste is actually just barrels of paper overalls. When a worker goes into a "potentially radioactive" area (i.e. there is no radiation detectable here, but just in case - ALARA you know) then they wear disposable paper overalls. New ones every time they go in. What happens to the used overalls? Well they MIGHT be contaminated. So they are then very expensive low-level "nuclear" waste. Such is the hyperbole of ALARA.

Meanwhile, open-air nuclear BOMB testing was happening regularly up until about 1990. This released uncountable orders-of-magnitude more than any nuclear power plant could, meltdown or not, straight into the global environment.

Yet power plants get slapped in the face for releasing the odd GBq of tritium. (Bequerels as a unit makes everything sound bad because it is so tiny - it literally means one atom decay per second. There is about 1GBq tritium in your average glow-in-the-dark keyring)

The trouble with radiation, really, is that it is invisible yet eminently detectable. Your enviro-hippie can come along with a detector and say LOOK- RADIATION - It's all over the place and it's coming from THAT PLANT. Is it dangerous? You've only got him to ask..

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cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Go nuclear

@AC: My point is, low-dose ionising radiation is a hell of a lot better for us than most people (including yourself apparently) seem to think it is. As I say, we have lived with it on this planet for millions of years. Life has evolved to cope with it. Nanoparticles, on the other hand, have only been around for a few hundred years. Nor has CO2 ever been this high since some mass-extinction event.

Why do we close nuclear when the alternatives are so much worse?

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cyberdemon
Holmes

Re: Go nuclear

See icon.

Unfortunately the vast majority of the population would apparently prefer to die a slow death from nanoparticulate emissions from coal and diesel. Or boil in their skins when the power goes off and the air conditioning stops. Or be incinerated by their own lithium-ion backup battery. Or be crushed to death in an all-too-common 'freak' accident involving a wind turbine.. (those things are huge, and have been known to come off their shafts, roll down hillsides and demolish schools/villages)

The alternatives to nuclear power are far more dangerous - but human psychology ignores the frequency of minor disasters and obsesses over extremely unlikely major ones that have yet to happen. See road vs. air travel, etc etc.

The reason that most reasonable people who are opposed to nuclear power give, is that it is too expensive. However my counter to that, is that it is because politicians are obsessed with making the public feel safe, while being ignorant of the psychology that says people see something with a lot of safety controls and assume it must be super dangerous.

This idiocy can be summed up in one acronym: ALARA. This is the belligerently lazy regulatory principle that governs emissions of radiation into the environment. Basically, nobody has defined a safe limit (not even the natural background that we have received from the sun/earth for all of the millions of years that us mammals have been on this planet) - so nuclear operators must keep emissions "As Low As Reasonably Achievable". Meaning if some elf'n'safety parasite comes along with some new way to reduce your radiation dose to staff/public, even if they were already orders of magnitude below background, you are legally obliged to do it. Cost is specifically exempted as an excuse.

This regulation only applies to nuclear power. The fact that a coal power station of the same generation capacity puts out more radioactivity up its smoke stack thanks to trace amounts of Radon gas in coal, is apparently of no consequence.

If only the IAEA would pull their finger out and define a safe limit for radiation exposure.. Considering evidence from Japan I expect they would be surprised and embarrassed. There's even a reasonable body of evidence to say that very low doses of radiation are actually beneficial to long-term health, which challenges the ridiculous "linear no-threshold" model..

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OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

cyberdemon
Devil

Me too, except I actually care who I'm paying..

> Might be an uncommon opinion, but I actually pay for the good/services I use...I dunno call me old-fashioned I guess.

If I thought that any of it was going to the people who actually make the goods/services that *i* use, then I would (and do) pay.

However, I'm not particularly into the mainstream manufactured crap that is where most of big-media invest their funds (apart from their next ocean-going yacht), so I guess that makes me middle-class.

Half the time, if I'm after a particular film / piece of music, it's not available from any paid services - and even if it is available, the content mafia just pocket the money anyway - it's not like the original creators are going to be making more music/films if they are long dead (but copyright is Life+95 years thanks to the Mickey Mouse Act).

So half the time I'm forced to stream anyway. But the other half the time, if the paid services were charging a reasonable rate based on the cost of delivering their service (i.e. maintaining shed loads of hard disks, and a ton of bandwidth) then I would happily pay the requisite 50p per film / 5p per music track, with at least 50% paid to the artists unless I ask to pay them more because I really liked it, then artists would get paid properly and I would buy a hell of a lot more content.

As it happens, I bought a subscription to Magnatune, which has exactly this model. But that definitely makes me middle-class.. <_<

4
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Former GCHQ boss backs end-to-end encryption

cyberdemon
Devil

Sock-Puppet..

I'd love to see a report on how many times each MP has voted against the party whip Chairman May.. (Data here?)

I'd put money on Amber Rudd coming bottom of that ranking.

0
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GSM gateway ban U-turn casts doubt on 7.5-year prosecution in Blighty

cyberdemon
Devil

@ alien overlord

No, he didn't break the law, because it hasn't yet been proven that he did. Innocent until proven guilty?

Meanwhile, apparently the regulator who made up said law, is considering whether this is infact a stupid law which should be repealed.

If Ofcom does repeal the law, then is it still worth spending public money deciding if this man broke it or not?

10
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France and UK want to make web firms liable for users' content

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Your Bed..

Not my fscking bed! I never voted for her..

(except once, in a referendum, but that doesn't count)

Honestly, I think the only reason for Theresa May to have been on the 'remain' side of things, would have been to sabotage the campaign from the inside because she knew nobody liked her. Her entire agenda has been authoritarian from the get-go: even before the whole brexit thing was on the cards, May was campaigning to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, because she wanted to be able to detain people indefinitely without charge. I mean, we all thought Jacqui Smith was bad..

This is the woman who gave us the National Crime Agency (not seen much about them lately, oddly enough) I wouldn't be at all surprised if, had May been elected last week, then she would be busy closing all regional police constabularies around the country and replacing them with a centralised NCA, with powers to do whatever they liked, to whomever they liked, with zero accountability.

I didn't watch SS:GB, but it probably had a similar plot..

We missed a collective bullet.

0
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Yo, patch that because scum still wanna exploit WannaCrypt-linked vuln

cyberdemon
Devil

UPnP maybe?

The same thought struck me, too. Nobody would knowingly expose SMB to the internet, surely.

I don't know, but maybe there are software nasties out there which are mapping SMB ports via UPnP? Apparently it can be done from javascript, so maybe some web browsers will allow a web page to create port mappings without your knowledge?

On my BT router, UPnP is enabled by default and allows applications to map any port they like through the firewall. I can disable UPnP, but there is no way that I know of to list the services that are being forwarded.

There ought to be a WPS-style button press or web confirmation needed to allow programs to map ports with UPnP.

0
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Secure Boot booted from Debian 9 'Stretch'

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: UEFI needs to *JUST* *DIE*

No, the whole of UEFI needs to die. It's a bloated pile of crap. Can you tell me any useful features it adds over BIOS?

I can tell you a few *unuseful* (and downright insidious) features: One: Intel Management Engine. As of UEFI, Intel-based chips can no longer be used in real-time systems, because the OS is effectively inside a VM, being scheduled by Intel's evil firmware. Said firmware is running a full network stack, and can intercept packets without the OS's knowledge (see Intel Anti-Theft)

Two: Obfuscating and eliminating third-party scrutiny. It is no longer possible to have a bootloader free from Intel signed binary blobs. (secure boot or no secure boot). See https://libreboot.org/faq.html#intel

Three: World-domination for somebody? If there are backdoors in UEFI then it has all kinds of evil implications..

The only real *use* for UEFI is to protect the triumvirate of Intel, Apple, and Microsoft from any present/future competition.

9
2

Intel's buggy Puma 6 chipset earns Arris a gigabit-modem lawsuit

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: "Arris opted for a chipset from Intel's rival Broadcom in its latest gigabit cable modem"

All that needs to happen is for Arris to file a claim against Intel, for the damages it had to pay out under the class action, its costs for defending the suit, plus additional damages to its reputation. The judge in THAT case would be making the call as to whether Intel's shit silicon was Arris' responsibility.

IANAL, but I suspect Arris would have a good case!

1
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Toshiba's nuclear power plant business runs out of steam

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Too cheap to meter

Yep. But I can give you one reason why nuclear is so ridiculously expensive:

ALARA

According to international regulations, all radiation emissions from nuclear plants must be kept "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" for anyone's definition of "reasonable" (which explicitly excludes cost) so if someone comes along and criticises your plant design, saying that you could have reduced the public's exposure from this many microsieverts to a few less microsieverts by spending a few million quid here and there, then it's back to the drawing board for your design. (for perspective, people living in Cornwall receive milliseiverts per year i.e. three orders of magnitude above this argument)

Note this only applies to nuclear - Coal puts out more radioactivity than nuclear (accidents and bombs included) simply because of the trace amounts of Radon gas in the millions of tonnes of the stuff that they burn each year. If they were held under the same regulations, then Drax et al would be very unhappy indeed. (although they are slowly converting to burning trees from south america instead, because that is so much better)

Then you have the 'decommissioning industry' (which I am paid by, so I better not give it too much vitriol) who will leverage 'ALARA' to undertake more and more expensive operations in the interests of reducing people's exposure from naff-all to fuck-all.

What needs to happen, is for the IAEA to pull their damned finger out and define a safe limit for radiation exposure. With the current regs, if a nuclear plant gave you a dose equivalent to one dentist's x-ray every 10 years, there would be an international emergency declared.

It's no wonder that nuclear is so expensive.. Perhaps we should make emissions of CO2, NOx and particulates "ALARA" too!

38
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'Webroot made my PCs s*** the bed' – AV update borks biz machines hard

cyberdemon
Devil

Some people still use Anti Virus?

Seriously - if you're a user, just don't run suspicious files, don't browse dodgy websites, and make sure all your important data exists somewhere that is NOT accessible to your computer on a regular basis. If you DO find yourself in need of browsing dodgy websites (for whatever reason) then make sure you are using a whitelist script/flash blocker, or a virtual machine. And if you don't understand how to do that, you'd best get a clue before going anywhere near said dodgy websites.

And if you're a business - don't give users sufficient privileges to cause any damage unless they thoroughly understand the above and are prepared to take responsibility for it!

Antivirus programs IN GENERAL should be considered harmful. The entire AV industry/culture needs to die. At best it lulls users into a false sense of security - (NO antivirus software can ever be perfect, so no matter what super duper AV you bought, you are still vulnerable.) and at worst, it's just a racket. (Users should NOT be trained to trust anything that calls itself an anti-virus program!)

So-called "real-time" or "on-access" antivirus is essentially installing a rootkit on your machine, interrupting the basic system calls that programs rely on e.g. fopen() and replacing them with their own (in this case buggy) code. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE WORST VIRUSES DO, and it's the reason why antivirus software slows down your machine, and why if you have more than one AV software installed, it causes a world of grief, because they are both trying to usurp the same syscalls.

The only "anti-virus" that I ever use is Clam, which is the traditional "scanner" type which just recursively traverses directories and looks at files one by one - it's handy for sanitising backups of machines I don't trust, or screening suspicious files.

0
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Trump signs 'no privacy for non-Americans' order – what does that mean for rest of us?

cyberdemon
Mushroom

Re: Trump has become more deranged

How exactly does one 'prepare' for a third world war? :(

19
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Europe mulls treating robots legally as people ... but with kill switches

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: "Freelander Woman"

Laputan Machine

.. I am not a..!

0
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Pirates, pirates, whatchu gonna do? Advertisers cop a visit from PIPCU

cyberdemon
Facepalm

Re: Tyrants

Don't worry: Now that we've "Taken back control", we can, er, lose even more freedom thanks to the regulatory oversight that we won't have in future.

Chairman May can sell the police, and whatever the f**k she likes to the IP tyrants (and anyone else who's bidding high), in an effort to keep the money flowing round while keeping the proles under control!

2
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Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Milking It

I know COMAU are quite good - TUT in Finland were able to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2sRReKA0OA

And as I say KUKA were quite cooperative in the end.. We were able to do the same thing with a Kuka robot, but it was not quite as good as TUT's performance with the Comau, and we had to buy some expensive software that really doesn't do very much.. Basically we used the "RSI" (Robot Sensor Interface" which is designed for sensor-corrected movement such as computer vision etc) to "correct" in the entire workspace, based on the position of the haptic pen. This is the only way we managed to get real-time positioning.

I don't know how TUT did it with the Comau - maybe they had to do a similar hack.

0
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cyberdemon
Devil

Milking It

Is what JD are doing..

@EarthWarrior - You're right, I'm surprised at El Reg for taking the Daily Mail angle on this. It's not about hax0rz in teh yuor combine harvester, it's about money for big agri companies. El Reg probably didn't realise the amount of money JD are milking out of their customers. They are taking full advantage of the fact they are in a niche market with customers who generally don't know much about tech - and when the few who DO understand tech, start doing trivial repairs themselves, they send the lawyers.

I work in Robotics - and industrial robot manufacturers are just the same (some are worse than others - I'm looking at you, Fanuc..)

They (Fanuc) will send legal threats to people "pirating" their user manuals, because they would prefer to send one of their "consultants" to set up your robot, or else you could pay £17,000 to go on a "training course" where you will receive said manual. Your factory floor manager, generally speaking, doesn't have the time or the incling to do configuration or repair, no matter how trivial it really is. But he does have lots of money to throw at consultants.

We asked Kuka really nicely, and they gave us the manuals we needed, but still charged ££££s for some extra piece of (shitty) software that we needed to control the robot the way we wanted.

11
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Ex-soldier pleads guilty to terror crime after not revealing iPhone PIN

cyberdemon
Facepalm

Re: Something fishy about this story

that has to be one of the cheesiest jokes I've read in a while..

9
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Those online ads driving you bonkers are virtually 'worthless for brands'

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: All the bad ads

HTML5 supports video, but it won't autoplay without JavaScript. You get a nice 'play' button instead. At least on all sane browsers.

Yes it's true that some sites are going down the road of forcing you to watch ads by surreptitious means, but those sites are starting to ditch the WWW anyway - "please download our APP instead". The only answer is don't use them.

As for driver sites: they're ALL security risks. Run Linux. :P

0
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cyberdemon
Devil

All the bad ads

Require JavaScript.

If it's not to run some obnoxious autoplay video, then its to spy on your mouse cursor or (more usually) to pull in other random ads from some delivery network, which then allows nefarious advertisers to do a switcheroo to bypass vetting.. (e.g. the download pages with umpteen different "download" buttons) I'm assuming these are pointing to something innocuous if/when the admen do any vetting of the adverts..

(I also assume this is what is happening on Facebook's malware "adverts" - with clickbait fake-news banners e.g. "FANS' OUTPOURING OF GRIEF OVER DEATH OF SIR PAUL MCARTNEY" which my dad clicked on, only to be assaulted by a fullscreen scam-page accompanied with a loud booming voice saying "YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH A VIRUS! FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY TO REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR COMPUTER" - I'm giving Facebook the benefit of the doubt here - it's entirely probable that they don't vet their adverts whatsoever..)

Someone above noted that he needs "half a dozen plugins" to get rid of all the ads. That's not true: You only need one - a whitelist JavaScript blocker such as NoScript (firefox) or ScriptSafe (chrome) is all I use - no ABP. The nice thing about this is that HTML-only adverts, which are almost always non-intrusive, display just fine, so honest admen can still get revenue. And if I do see one of these honest, non-intrusive adverts, I am reasonably likely to click on it. (HINT HINT EL REG)

As for the "thanks but no thanks" - I'm sure they would appreciate your feedback to let their neural-networks know that you are most probably an actual real person, but they would use that information just to serve you with ever-more-obnoxious ads, while focussing your attention on their little iframe, rather than the site that you wanted to read, until you give up and click on one.

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Hard decision but Mercedes are probably right

I hasten to add, if an autonomous car has to run itself into a tree to avoid hitting someone, despite all of its super-duper sensors to detect it in advance, and super-duper autonomous braking to stop on a peanut, then it was almost certainly driving too fast in the first place. Either that or the obstacle was being tragically stupid, which isn't the car's problem at all.

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cyberdemon
Devil

Re: Hard decision but Mercedes are probably right

Completely agree. But I think the most important angle is the legal angle. As soon as you consider that, then you realise that this whole moral madness is just a can of worms with no bottom. It is better to just try to stop as best you can for ANY obstacle, and not even try to think about this stuff.

1. As you say, the car's sensors cannot possibly ever be perfect. It could quite easily see a paper bag, a cat, a dog, running across the road and decide that it is a human infant. It may then decide to take extreme evasive action to avoid the infant, and end up "deliberately" killing its driver. A human could make exactly the same mistake of course (and probably does, in all of the RTAs of the world). The difference with the human, however, is that you can't then download the black-box data out of his squished brain, and replay his fatal mistake in front of a court of law. The car manufacturers will be *terrified* of this second-guessing by the courts, and of course the lawyers will be salivating just thinking about it.

2. Yes, pedestrians have the same responsibility to avoid danger as anyone else (young children are not directly responsible - their parents are responsible FOR them). The highway code is there for a reason. If a driver is not driving dangerously or carelessly, but still kills a child, then he should, in theory, be found NOT GUILTY, by the court - because the child or their parent should have been paying attention to the inherent danger of the road. Unfortunately in many cases (because the courts are not perfect), he will be found guilty of something and go to jail. If the driver was in fact a robot operated by some company, then one corporate manslaughter case could sink even the biggest of companies. (even if it was incorrectly judged, by the jury of falliable squishy things, which statistically some of the cases will be) I think this is one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread adoption of fully autonomous cars - that the courts have an unacceptably high error rate and that even a "perfect" autonomous car will some day be found guilty.

3. It IS a hard decision, but I would be more afraid of the car that is clever enough to be able to try and make it, than one which is "dumb" and doesn't even go there. The reason is this: If a car is able to evaluate in real-time, the value of all life around it, and try to prioritise the teenage kid walking into the road over the elderly driver, a "criminal", or any of the other ridiculous scenarios you will find over at Moral Machine, for example - then it must have extremely sophisticated social profiling built in. (or perhaps even outsourced to "the cloud" - even worse). This opens up all kinds of evil possibilities. People complained about a "racist hand dryer" whose sensor failed to properly detect black skin. You now have the possibility (or rather, certainty) for a car to deliberately kill a human just because they were profiled to be "less morally valuable" than some other human.

There will be inevitable imperfections in the profiling algorithm and its training data. It *will* be more efficient at profiling the kinds of humans in its training set than the kinds of humans outside of the training set. This is now automatic discrimination against any kind of human who was not included in the training set. Remember the Google Photos app that identified black people as "gorillas"? Well unfortunately they did not have enough black people in the training set, but apparently they did have gorillas. For Google, that was a serious facepalm. If that was an autonomous car though, then once you factor in the lawyers, it's racially motivated murder on the part of Google.

Worse still, the system could be deliberately modified by some evil human. If a large number of a particular manufacturers' autonomous cars had the software capability to profile people and decide on their moral value, and someone maliciously issued an over-the-air software update to all of these cars simultaneously, then that malicious person could even attempt genocide. Very scary indeed.

----

Basically, If I was buying an autonomous car, I would want it to protect ME. (humans are ultimately selfish, no matter what you say) and I would certainly not want it to be second-guessing my life over what ultimately could be just a paper bag. And humans are the customer, so this makes perfect commercial sense.

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Ofcom blesses Linux-powered, open source DIY radio ‘revolution’

cyberdemon
FAIL

Re: Potato

> There's no Line-Out socket and it goes a bit deaf on DAB/DAB+ when earphones are plugged in because the telescopic aerial is then disconnected

> What the hell kinda stupidass design is that? Here, you can have this jacket if it's cold out, but you can't wear it with gloves.

Because then you'd be able to connect a tape cassette recorder and steal content in er, perfect digital MP2 quality. Cassette tapes will be the death of the radio industry, don't you know!

5
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Sad reality: It's cheaper to get hacked than build strong IT defenses

cyberdemon
Devil

Blame the hacker

The real problem, if you ask me, is that is the operators of these sites are never accountable for their own shitty security. Everybody blames the hacker. The real black-hats are rarely caught, but sometimes a white-hat will politely point out a vulnerability and expect to be rewarded - instead he is ignored (perhaps to save face) and the vulnerability often remains unpatched. So a grey-hat comes along and rudely makes the vulnerability obvious to all. In most cases he is attacked by the organisation (never mind rewarded) and frequently prosecuted by the state (who want to make an example of him in the hopes that this will scare the black-hats).

IMO the real reason that companies never bother to secure their networks, is because they can always label it as a "cyberattack", as if NOBODY could have stopped this ACT OF TERROR on their systems.

When a system of this scale gets compromised, it should be the sysadmin, not just the "hacker" who gets held accountable by the state. It would be nice if there was a neutral authority that white-hats could report vulnerabilities to, which will confirm them and then force (by law) the companies involved to close them.

Then again, the cynic in me says these sites are deliberately left open so that the state spies can get in, whilst having yet another excuse to pursue and destroy anyone else who wields the same power.

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End all the 'up to' broadband speed bull. Release proper data – LGA

cyberdemon
Devil

Prometheus

> Yes!

This might seem attractive to us internet users, but it is a piece of steak at the top of a bill which is otherwise a barrel of offal, fat and bones.

0
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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

cyberdemon
Devil

Re: The only thing that makes a smart meter of any use to anyone

FYI You are the last person in the queue for the data from your smart-meter. In front of you are:

  • Your electricity supplier (who want to charge you more if you put your kettle on when they are struggling to meet the load, because they pocketed too much of your bills instead of building the required capacity)
  • Your council (who will be able to profile the number of people living in your dwelling-house to make sure you are paying the proper rate of council tax)
  • Your insurance company (because they will use any scrap of evidence to blame you for overloading your circuits when your house burns down, and thus avoid paying out)
  • The BBC (who will be able to profile repeated tiny spikes during popular TV programmes and thus detect if you are dodging the license fee)
  • Data-mining companies (who will pay good money for any sufficiently-large high-quality dataset about anything)

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