* Posts by phuzz

3907 posts • joined 23 Feb 2010

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

phuzz
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They're journalists, methylated spirits would probably work just as well as alcohol.

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Brace yourself, Britain: Health minister shares 'vision' for NHS 'tech revolution'

phuzz
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Funding

I don't see anything in the article about money actually going to the actual hospitals so they can buy the systems they need to adhere to these new standards. Which does beg the question, what's the point in new "digital standards" when no part of the NHS can afford to implement them?

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Microsoft points to a golden future where you can make Windows 10 your own

phuzz
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Re: What about the stuff that we really don't want...

OneNote, and the Bing stuff can be uninstalled with a simple right click > uninstall.

I'm not sure if you're joking about the Zune stuff, but it's not installed on mine so it was either never there, or succumbed to the same quick uninstall method.

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phuzz
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Trollface

Why would you want Windows installed without Edge?

You need something to download Firefox/Chrome with.

(I'm pretty sure IE is still installed too)

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Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

phuzz
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Boffin

Re: Eight times brighter than the Moon?

"the moon is not very reflective. It has an albedo of around 10-15%"

The moon is actually about as reflective as your average tarmacked (asphalt for our American cousins) road . Which sounds like nonsense until you think of a road illuminated in bright noon summer sunlight with no clouds (or indeed atmosphere). Also, of course, you mainly see the moon at night when your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, so it appears brighter.

Here's a picture of the Earth and Moon taken together which gives a better idea of it's colour and relative brightness.

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Crucial P1 minicard flash drive? Not if you grabbed Intel's 660p

phuzz
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Re: I'll never buy another

Hmm, I'll steer clear of the Crucial M2 ssds for a while then, thanks.

We've been mainly using the WD Green nvme drives which work. I couldn't tell you any more than that because they've only been in service for about six months, and as for speed, once they're faster than a harddrive that's 'good enough' for our purposes.

The main problem I have is finding suitably small ones. A basic Linux Mint install only needs about 16GB, but the cheapest SSDs are around 120GB now, which isn't exactly a problem I suppose, it just offends my sense of efficiency.

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Softcat warns of Brexit cloud forming over UK tech, vows: If prices rise, we'll pass them on...

phuzz
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Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

"And if prices fall due to new tariffs or strengthened sterling, will they pass those on as well?"

If it allows them to undercut their competition, whilst still making a profit, then, probably?

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Find these, er, appealing? UK.gov takes red pen to spy court rules, asks for Parliament's OK

phuzz
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Re: But not the European Court of Human Rights.

Actually yes, I was thinking of things like voting for brexit, even though everyone in government thought it was a terrible idea and now they have to go along with it, whilst trying desperately to distance themselves so they can't get the blame for when everything goes horribly wrong and causing the entire tory party to figuratively wet itself in public.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure they wish people had voted for the safe choice. Bloody democratic rights.

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phuzz
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Re: But not the European Court of Human Rights.

Pah, if people had rights then they might do things that the government doesn't like.

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UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

phuzz
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Re: "Why can't we have both?"

It's unhygienic, and a right pain to get out of the bed sheets.

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phuzz
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Paris Hilton

"They just block them."

Got a source for that?

Also, how would they block them, put them on the same list as kiddie porn? Or the same block they try to use on file sharing sites?

Enquiring minds want to know.

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Tech hub blames tech: San Francisco fingers Uber, Lyft rides for its growing traffic headache

phuzz
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Re: Just using Uber and Lyft as whipping boys

"Obviously, since unless the taxi is very well organized, it has to come to you first."

Often places where a lot of people want taxis (eg airports, train stations), there'll be a taxi rank with several waiting for passengers. I'd say they only have to be a little bit organised to manage that.

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NASA gently nudges sleeping space 'scopes Chandra, Hubble out of gyro-induced stupor

phuzz
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Devil

Re: The Optimal Number of Gyroscopes

Thanks Brewster for giving us all the Clapp.

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phuzz
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Boffin

Re: The Optimal Number of Gyroscopes

You need three gyros ideally to sense movement on three different axis which is obviously the smallest number for accurate pointing. (There was six gyros originally in three pairs, the three older ones have failed).

If you'd like the full science on why a single gyro is almost as preferable as two-gyro, there's a whole paper on just that subject here.

Following gyro failures in April 2001 and April 2003, HST Pointing Control System engineers designed reduced-gyro control laws to extend the spacecraft science mission. The Two-Gyro Science (TGS) and One-Gyro Science (OGS) control laws were designed and implemented using magnetometers, star trackers, and Fine Guidance Sensors in succession to control vehicle rate about the missing gyro axes. Both TGS and OGS have demonstrated on-orbit pointing stability less than 7 milli-arcseconds, which depends upon the guide star magnitude used by the Fine Guidance Sensor. This paper describes the design, implementation, and on-orbit performance of the HST reduced-gyro control system.

Clapp, B.R. J of Astronaut Sci (2009) 57: 419. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03321511

It's behind a paywall though :(

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phuzz
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Joke

"a 3-second period of bad data that in turn led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode."

On the plus side, during that period they had a really good idea of where the spacecraft was.

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Dating app for Trump loners commits YUGE blunder: It leaks more than the West Wing

phuzz
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Re: FAKE NEWS

"an attempt to sucker already proven rubes"

It's a bit like spam emails intentionally misspelling words, because the last person you want to run your con on is someone who'll notice small flaws. If they don't notice the obvious flaws then they'll probably fall straight for the scam.

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Virgin Media? More like Virgin Meltdown: Brit broadband ISP falls over amid power drama

phuzz
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If you're looking for recommendations, we use a lot of Draytek routers (2832 specifically) at work, together with USB 3G dongles as backup and have only good things to say about them.

For slightly cheaper you could go for an ASUS router and run Merlin's firmware.

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phuzz
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If you're using a 3/4G dongle as a backup, just bare in mind that a cheap pay-as-you-go SIM from O2 or Vodafone will probably block any VPNs you usually run. EE seems to allow them though. We've been told to upgrade to the (much) more expensive business service if we want VPNs over 3/4G.

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Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

phuzz
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Facepalm

He was so worried about Sweden extraditing him to the US, that he fled to the UK.

Because, as we all know, there's no chance of the UK cooperating with an extradition request from the US is there?

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Emergency Services Network delays to cost public purse £1.1bn, Home Office reveals

phuzz
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Motorola are providing the equipment for 4G (reception certainly, I'm not sure about transmission), and so have the possibility of making a fat chunk of cash if it's decided to to move to 5G.

Of course, a well designed system should be able to upgrade to 5G with only minor changes, what's the betting that this isn't the case?

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Web browsers sharpen knives for TLS 1.0, 1.1, tell protocols to dig their own graves for 2019

phuzz
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FAIL

Re: Web browsers are not the problem

Update, I just checked and even IE wouldn't connect. I ended up downloading an old portable version of Firefox (from here) and disabling HTTPS altogether.

Thanks APC!

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phuzz
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Re: Web browsers are not the problem

For example we have a number of old switches and PDUs etc. which have management interfaces programmed in 2008 and never updated since. (Looking at you Zyxel, APC) Fortunately they're on the inside of our network and hopefully secure on a management-only segment.

Which just means it's a pain when I want to go update some SNMP details and have to drop back to using IE because no other browser will let me connect.

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NASA chief in Moscow: 'We will fly again on a Russian Soyuz rocket'

phuzz
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Scheduling...

I can imagine them launching an unmanned Soyuz up to the ISS on schedule (which would provide a viable lifeboat to the current crew as well as proving the vehicle), but I'll be surprised if the next crewed launch happens this year.

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phuzz
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Re: Uncomfortable landing?

They mean it was an uncomfortable trip down, because it was a fully ballistic descent, so they experienced more Gs than on a normal descent. You're right though that the actual landing itself was pretty standard (as far as anyone can tell from the details released).

Except possibly from the strong smell of brown trousers inside the capsule ;)

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Penta-gone! Personal records of 30,000 US Dept of Defense workers swiped by miscreants

phuzz
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It a big part of the swamp, but there's also the revolving doors between government and industry. Like, for instance, an ex-telco lobbyist becoming chair of the FCC...

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Bloodhound Super-Sonic-Car lacks Super-Sonic-Cashflow

phuzz
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They already done all the usual "get your name on the X", and asking for small donations over the last ten years. Not much left to hope for except a generous donor who's got a spare £25M lying around.

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Scanning an Exchange server for a virus that spreads via email? What could go wrong?

phuzz
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Thumb Up

Re: There is a little bit of me

"didn't clean the mail database, it just deleted it, so a previous copy had to be restored"

That is cleaning it. The same way I clean my car, by sandblasting all the paint off, and then re-painting ;)

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It is 2018 and the NHS is still counting the cost of WannaCry. Carry the 2, + aftermath... um... £92m

phuzz
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Duh, out of our £350M/week brexit dividend of course.

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Bloke gets six months for fixing up Russia's US election trolls with bank accounts, fake identities

phuzz
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Given the IRS's legendary proclivity for taxing people who don't even live in the US, I'm guessing not many people try to open US bank accounts from abroad normally.

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Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work

phuzz
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Facepalm

Re: Monitor

Clearly the above commentators have never had the fun* of having their 'known good' hardware killed by whatever was causing the original problem.

I've had a power supply go bad in such a way that it killed a motherboard, which would then destroy any other power supply it was tested with. We got through four PSUs and three motherboards before we worked that one out.

* actual fun may vary

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With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

phuzz
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Alien

Re: This is great news for certain politicians.

"NASA is basically a one-programme-at-a-time agency"

Er, you don't seem to have noticed but NASA has programs going on all over the solar system, and has done for years.

They've got two separate rovers (hopefully, maybe only one now) and three separate orbiters going around Mars right now, all of which are separate programs. And that's just Mars.

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phuzz
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Re: Lose one bloody capsule in 50 years

Technically Soyuz* has a slightly worse loss rate of spacecraft than the Shuttle for a similar number of launches (Soyuz overtook the Shuttle in the last year iirc).

Although, due to the larger crew capacity, more lives have been lost on the Shuttle.

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Russian rocket goes BOOM again – this time with a crew on it

phuzz
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Re: You can't just be like "it's a lovely morning time to...

"KSP for adults"

You mean Orbiter?

Not that KSP isn't for adults of course.

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phuzz
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I wouldn't be surprised if they were wearing 'space nappies' already.

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phuzz
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postpone 11 months!? If they've been up there 3 months already, they'll develop serious health problems if they're up there that long.

Valeri Polyakov spent fourteen months on Mir with no major health effects (he walked out of the Soyuz after it landed), so postponing for a little while won't be too serious. I'm sure their families will miss them, but it's all part of the job.

As for re-boosting the ISS up to a higher orbit, they usually use the unmanned Progress craft to do that, although the Zvezda module has it's own engines as well.

Moving into the realm of complete conjecture, I think that the Russians will do their best to re-certify Soyuz as quickly as possible (even if that involves finding another 'saboteur'). Whether that will mollify NASA or ESA enough to allow their own astronauts to fly on it again is another matter.

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US may have by far the world's biggest military budget but it's not showing in security

phuzz
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Devil

I kind of assumed that business as usual is getting a Senator or Congressman re-elected.

Isn't what the US military budget is for?

How dare you!

It's there to make the executives at the defence companies richer as well.

Then they can use that money to bankroll a politician, who can then sling more business their way and keep the whole cycle going. Oh, and to give that politician a nice non-executive position once they retire of course..

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Oh no, Xi didn't! Chinese spymaster cuffed in Belgium, yoinked to US on aerospace snoop rap

phuzz
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"Innovation in aviation has been a hallmark of life and industry in the United States since the Wright brothers patented everything to do with powered flight and stopped all innovation"

FTFY

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Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's app: No one knows if it's dead or alive, no one really wants to look inside

phuzz
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"how slow it opens on my computer"

Whack an SSD in there and it'll run much quicker.

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Who needs custom malware? 'Govt-backed' Gallmaker spy crew uses off-the-shelf wares

phuzz
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Trollface

So this is a government which clearly doesn't have the resources to build it's own malware, so they're relying on commercial versions instead?

It's brexit-struck GCHQ isn't it?

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Astroboffins discover when white and brown dwarfs mix, the results are rather explosive

phuzz
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Re: What Fun

Not just your wedding ring, important parts of your fingers (eg the calcium in your bones) came from novae too.

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PC makers: Intel CPU shortages are here to stay ... for six months

phuzz
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Re: Price of AMD share

What you should have done was buy shares in AMD six months ago when it was a third of what it is now.

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Chinese Super Micro 'spy chip' story gets even more strange as everyone doubles down

phuzz
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Stop

Re: How can I put this?

Given that these implants were supposed to be exfiltrating data, PCAPs or it didn't happen.

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Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid

phuzz
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Facepalm

Re: I can understand no Whatsapp

Exactly, if I wanted to have a phone that would only call and text, I'd dig out my old Nokia (or Sony, or whatever will still hold a charge).

These days I want some kind of secure messaging, be that Signal, or Telegram or Whatsapp or whatever.

Sure, they say:

Neby said consumers probably have "four or five devices" that do WhatsApp already.

Which just begs the question, why would I bother carrying their device around as well? It doesn't give me anything I don't get elsewhere.

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Hate to burst your Hubble: Science stops as boffins scramble to diagnose gyro problem

phuzz
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Re: One can only hope

"Could a private sponsor not finance another repair mission, using SpaceX and a Dragon 2 capsule."

The Dragon doesn't have a robotic arm to grab onto the HST, and using attitude thrusters up close is a no-no because the exhaust could/would contaminate the optics.

Sadly Hubble was designed to be repaired by the Shuttle only.

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Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra

phuzz
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Alert

Re: Oh, go on then

If you have bladder stones you maybe unlucky enough to have a doctor stick a camera into your bladder to have a look. They use an endoscope (technically a 'cystoscope') that's about 3-4mm diameter.

Barring surgery there's only one way that camera is getting in there, and, yep, everyone reading this just involuntarily tried to cross their legs. As a man, one of the worst bits is when they have to get it round a narrow corner right by your prostate.

Definitely one of my least favourite medical memories, although I did get to see the inside of my own bladder, which I suppose few people can say.

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Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

phuzz
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Re: Chinese agents slip spy chips into Super Micro servers

The report says that the component was designed to hack the BMC, which can already do everything that the IntelME can do and more. So yes, using a vulnerability in ME might well be easier than surreptitiously inserting a component, but it's not like most BMC's are any more secure, and would probably be a much easier target.

(They also don't mention what kind of CPU these boards had. They might have used AMD or even ARM CPUs, although given how many Intel based servers there are out there, it's unlikely)

Another possibility if you had some access to the boards during manufacturing would be to just swap the BIOS (or BMC, or a number of other chips) with one that contained some kind of malicious capability.

Basically, there's easier ways to do what is being claimed, and attacking IntelME is just one of them.

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Hunt for Planet X finds yet another planetoid, just not the right one

phuzz
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Pirate

Re: Planet X?

"Only two actual pirates ever really buried their treasure"

Well maybe, but presumably if you were burying treasure, it would be to keep it hidden, so it's not exactly something you'd announce or record in a manner that would be likely to enter the historical record.

In a somewhat related manner, I do know that modern day marine salvagers store some of their finds in specific locations underwater, until they've gathered enough to take it into a port.

Unfortunately for the employer of an acquaintance of mine, the storage site they picked was a shipwreck that they had already cleaned out, and who's location was known. They came back months later to pick up their carefully packaged finds, only to find empty seabed. That was a seven figure loss.

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You dirty DRAC: IT bods uncover Dell server firmware security slip

phuzz
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Well the obvious step would be to only connect the DRAC's ethernet port to a dedicated management network.

That said I've never worked anywhere where the management network was completely locked down and air gapped, but at least an attacker would have to find a way to get onto an admin's machine first.

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Windows 10 1809: Now arriving on a desktop near you (if you want it)

phuzz
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Re: Hmmmm

My home machine updated yesterday. It didn't change my default browser.

Weirdly I've not had any problems with Win10 updates, despite my home machine being made up of a collection of parts that are slowly rotated over a period of years, and the OS having been upgraded-in-place since Vista (thru 7, 8, 8.1 and finally 10). Really I should be having more issues than I do.

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US and UK Amazon workers get a wage hike – maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

phuzz
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The UK already has a slightly more reasonable minimum wage, so there's less pressure.

Plus everyone's still running around with their hands in the air because of brexit.

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