* Posts by Black Betty

312 posts • joined 3 Mar 2010


Cops told: No, you can't have a warrant to force a big bunch of people to unlock their phones by fingerprint, face scans

Black Betty

Re: So does this also invalidate all facial recognition installed everywhere?

My take on this sort of technology is that it should be OK to use it to compare individual faces against a shortlist of suspect faces (ie known soccer hooligans) for targeted action (ie. prevent entry to a stadium), but not to compile a list of every attendee to be cross referenced with purchasers of road flares and vuvuzelas.

Feeling a bit gassy? Toshiba floats 16TB helium whopper

Black Betty

Re: Why not increase the platter size and/or the height of the enclosure?

Actually you can more than double the number of platters, because stacking two drives into a single enclosure eliminates the top of one case and bottom of the other.

I'm not sure that it's ever actually been implemented in a real world product, but dual (multiple?) sets of heads has certainly been talked about. One option here would be a single set of write heads combined with two or three sets of lighter weight read heads.

Black Betty

Re: Why not increase the platter size and/or the height of the enclosure?

I'm aware of the latency issues, but big drives are generally used for long term archival storage, which as a rule does not require rapid access times. For that purpose petabyte class solid state arrays exist.

My personal experience with Bigfoot drives is that they failed due to timing issues when the system bus speed was increased beyond 33 MHz.

Black Betty

Why not increase the platter size and/or the height of the enclosure?

What is so bloody special about the 3.5 inch 1/4 height form factor that manufacturers can't revert to 5.25 platters and/or taller enclosures?

Full frontal vulnerability: Photos can still trick, unlock Android mobes via facial recognition

Black Betty

Cheap phone and don't effing bother.

I just bought the cheapest phone I could find, hooked it up to a prepaid account and left it on swipe to unlock. I simply don't store anything on it that matters worth a tinker's damn. If I want security I'll use a proper computer locked with a decent password.

An upset tummy and a sphincter-loosening blackout: Lunar spaceflight is all glamour

Black Betty

Re: Lunch from both ends?

Positioning was achieved with sticky tape and finger sheaths were provided to assist with "undocking".

Pragmatically speaking, assisting each other would make a lot more sense than backing up a couple of feet, since it would significantly reduce the chances of unintended "excursions". Any macho image preservation could have been done in post-production banter. Could not have been any worse than caring for an incontinent elder.

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter

Black Betty

Re: Remeber those heady days of the Apollo missions well

Five year old me wanted to know what was in the hole* to one side of the moon's far side.

My grandfather (who built a TV** from scratch to watch the landing) carefully explained to me, with the aid of a bedside lamp and balls why part of the moon was in shadow.

At the end of the explanation, I collected my shovel and went outside to dig a shadow.

* There is indeed a dark side to the moon. It's what you get when there is neither sunlight, or Earthshine to illuminate the moon's far side.

** Bare chassis valve set that never killed a single child in the several years it served our family.

CubeSat buddies, like those sent to track Mars InSight landing, can be used in future missions

Black Betty

Comsats for space missions.

Here's a thought. Devote at least one mission to nothing but establishing a permanent high bandwidth communications link between Mars and Earth. It's something that will be an absolute necessity if we ever do get around to sending manned mission, and in the meantime science orbiters and landers can work 24:37 without the need to take time out to laboriously transmit data back to earth at rates that would embarrass your average US telco.

With a near real-time link (latency 3 - 22 minutes) the possibility to react to and observe transient events would be greatly enhanced. Rover travel distances could be increased to kilometers per day. Without a need for a large antena and complex pointing system more space could be devoted to extra or more complex science packages.

In situ satellites would also make terminal guidance of approaching missions easier.

Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

Black Betty

< subject > for Dummies.

It's not entirely reasonable to expect any politician to be knowledgeable in the subject for their portfolio prior to appointment, but it should be an absolute requirement that they read up on the basics of the subject once appointed. Enough that they can both understand and instruct their subordinates.

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

Black Betty

How the effity-eff-eff does any Govt. or company permit cloudy Office?

Strikes me that this is a security hole large enough to drive a super tanker through sideways.

When a client has no effective control over what data is sent to an off site server, they also have no control over who might ultimately view that data. What is to stop some rogue state (ie. my own bloody minded data slurping Australia) requiring document duplication?

Yes, you may use Office 365 offline, but from my reading, it appears that certain "features" kick in automatically/uncontrollably whenever an internet connection is present.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

Black Betty

Secure alcove for bank ATMs

A bank here in Australia put some of it's ATMs (those in high street crime areas?) behind glass doors to prevent muggings of customers making late night withdrawals. In theory the customer was to swipe their bank issued keycard through a reader to open said doors before being able to access the hole in the wall machines. In practice, ANY card with a magstripe would cause the doors to open. Train ticket, hotel keycard, photocopier card, any card at all, didn't matter.

Result, nicely corralled victims with zero options for escape.

Up to three million kids' GPS watches can be tracked by parents... and any miscreant: Flaws spill pick-and-choose catalog for perverts

Black Betty

Let fines for poor security management equal absolute revenue.

Make it impossible for product vendors to boost/pad their bottom line by cutting corners on security, by fining them 100 percent of the revenues (not profits) from any offending products. Sell a millions crap devices for $10 each, pay a $10 million dollar fine on top of any reimbursement paid to customers for recalled/returned items.

Demonstrate a good faith effort to implement security, fine is not applicable, but crap like hard coded credentials, plain text comms, and other trivial security holes, should be matched be a black hole in the vendors wallet.

Can your rival fix it as fast? turns out to be ten-million-dollar question for plucky support guy

Black Betty

Re: Ancient memories

Inline data.

JSR do something.

data here

more code here.

something: POP the stack.

index through data,

process data.

PUSH to stack.


Made for very readable source code, but don't even think about trying to disassemble the binary.

Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

Black Betty

Who remembers the universal keys for early windows products.

Three digits (which I no longer recall) and a string of "1"s

DBA drifts into legend after inventive server convo leaves colleagues fearing for their lives

Black Betty

Re: Why? Just why?

My brother's boss tried that on him at the ordnance factory where he was apprenticed. Several legit customers came and went before the stores clerk thought to ask the kid with his heels up reading a book what he wanted. Bro carefully marked his place, looked at his watch, said "I guess I've waited long enough" and returned to his station.

Clunk, bang, rattle: Is that a ghost inside your machine?

Black Betty

Re: Many values for true

Assembler library code is a likely culprit.

That or porting code from a language with strong data typing such as PASCAL in which booleans have exactly 2 values (TRUE and FALSE) to one that defines TRUE as any non-zero value.

Optimizing compilers (particularly early ones) can do strange and unanticipated things to code. Best practice is simply to never explicitly test for a TRUE condition.

Pirate radio = drug dealing and municipal broadband is anti-competitive censorship

Black Betty

And now for A Walk in the Black Forest.

No text

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee

Black Betty

Re: Had to think then

Round my parts they're called "barker's eggs".

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

Black Betty

Re: when you charge more per hour

Hit with hammer :- $5

Know where to hit :- $95

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

Black Betty

Re: Racist?

Poor syntax and grammar are deliberate. They're used to weed out those who might stop and think "hey just a sec" halfway into the scam, thus wasting the scammer's time. They want seriously clueless people who'll pay up without question.

Morrisons supermarket: We're taking payroll leak liability fight to UK Supreme Court

Black Betty

Re: I expect to be flamed

RTFA: Skelton was specifically tasked with providing that payroll data to KPMG. Whilst doing so he took a copy for himself.

Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean

Black Betty

Re: anti-crime

Scrumping (the proper technical term for nicking fruit from a tree) is still theft.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs

Black Betty


Telstra's online support chat censors even the mildest examples of Aussie vernacular.

Yale Security Fail: 'Unexpected load' caused systems to crash, whacked our Smart Living Home app

Black Betty

Re: The "Smart Home" crashed?

Danny Dunn saw this coming the year of my birth,

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

Black Betty

Re: 'None of the actors can be taken at face value

Query regarding embedding chips in the motherboard substrate. Is this even a part of the normal manufacturing process? If it isn't, we can probably discount that part of the story as hyperbole.

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

Black Betty

Re: The only news here is the 'NZ' part... Maybe...

You're entirely free to exercise your right against self incrimination, but that won't stop you being in breach of the mandatory device unlock law.

Pro tip: Don't carry evidence of crime through policed checkpoints.

Australia, US and Japan want Huawei local submarine cable project

Black Betty

Primary problem is Western investment comes with onerous conditions.

Generally along the lines of, privatize and sell off the public sector to finance or underwrite loans.

China's loans come with no strings attached.

Australia blocks Huawei, ZTE from 5G rollout

Black Betty

Anyone spot the hypocrisy?

Banning these two companies on the suspicion that they might be providing backdoor access to a foreign power at the same time that they are demanding all tech companies provide exactly that access to the AU govt. itself.

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs

Black Betty

Maybe, maybe not.

First of all, pretty near all new systems are going to ship with a 250-500GB SSD, first in laptops and then soon after desktop systems too, because people just won't put up with sub-par performance once they've got a taste for the speed of an SSD.

Spinning rust will survive for a little while for media storage, and possibly ultra-high bandwidth applications.

But ultimately, I foresee some sort of ultra-high density write-once media being developed for long term archival storage.

Sysadmin hailed as hero for deleting data from the wrong disk drive

Black Betty

Re: Disk Doctor

NDD saved my backside after I made the mistake of typing RECOVER *.*

Off with e's head: E-cig explosion causes first vaping death

Black Betty

Re: This isn't really the batteries fault

Don't see many flashlights with safety vents. Tactical ones even come well knurled for maximum fragmentation effect.

Black Betty

Re: "Surprisingly common"

I wonder how vaping injuries compare to injuries sustained by fires caused by regular ciggies.

Bowel down: Laxative brownies brought to colleague's leaving bash

Black Betty

It's called "Setting a mantrap."

It's got nothing to do with crim's rights, and everything to do with ordinary people not falling foul to random booby traps.

Thus ended letterboxes with "teeth" and garden walls with embedded glass shards. It's why you and I can't erect electric fences with razor wire.

Black Betty

Re: Revenge is a dish best served wet

Technically, it's "Setting a mantrap." so technically illegal.

First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

Black Betty

2 horse's arses is the legacy metric.

3.7m is the largest diameter rocket body that will fit down a single railroad tunnel. The dimensions of which are built around the standard rail gauge of 4' 8.5". Early rail cars were built on the same jigs as horse drawn wagons. Wagon wheel spacing was dictated by the ruts Roman chariots wore into Roman roads. Roman chariots were built to be drawn by 2 horses.


Whois is dead as Europe hands DNS overlord ICANN its arse

Black Betty

Strictly speaking shouldn't telephone directories be illegal under GDPR?

Automatic listing, and often a fee charged for the privilege of opting out.

Cryptocoin investors sue Chase Bank for sky-high credit card charges

Black Betty

They do if it's Krugerrands.

/no text

'Our way or the highway' warranty scams shot down by US watchdog: It's OK to use unofficial parts to repair your gear

Black Betty

Re: Enough with the replacement part conspiritards.

And some idiots put no-name brand oil in their Testarossa, so what's your point? You do the repair and pocket your profit.

We're not talking about products sold at (or below) cost here, but products often sold with a huge margin, and policies deliberately formulated to discourage repair and encourage (if not outright force) replacement when those products fail.

Black Betty

Re: Enough with the replacement part conspiritards.

The only problem with that theory is that it's bullshit.

Apple authorised 3rd party repairers are not permitted to perform component level repairs, only swap out faulty modules.

Apple refuses to supply certain critical proprietary parts to anyone, including their authorised repair chain.

Apple has consistently gone out of its way to make repair and/or upgrades increasingly difficult with time.

- disappearing expansion ports; proprietary connectors and fasteners; glued in batteries; cameras welded to the case; solid state drives integrated onto the main logic board.

Apple's recycling policy is that everything, even perfectly good parts must be shredded.

Software updates which "break" previously working devices that contain non-Apple parts.

Their products were/are still highly susceptible to liquid damage years after other manufacturers solved that problem in products sold for less than half the price of Apple's. Oh, and liquid damage voids all warranties.

Apple's crusade against 3rd party repairers has little to nothing to do with ensuring a perfect "Apple experience", or lost repair revenue. It's that each successful repair (particularly of devices deemed unrepairable by Apple) is a lost sale.

Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat

Black Betty

So no itsame99@domain.com?

The vast majority of "meaningful" email names are variations on a theme.

Black Betty

Re: TL;DR but what is it with ****ing developers

When MS rammed case insensitivity down everyone's throats IIRC.

Black Betty

Re: TL;DR but what is it with ****ing developers

*nix is case sensitive, but IIRC there was a big kerfuffle when MS got into the internet business and rammed case insensitivity down everyone's throats and broke a lot of expected behaviours.

My PC makes ‘negative energy waves’, said user, then demanded fix

Black Betty

Re: Ah yes, proper 5-pin DIN

Had a mate with a bit of a temper, who got physical with his keyboard. His only issue was finding the last keycap.

No Falcon Way: NASA to stick with SLS, SpaceX more like space ex

Black Betty

Re: Speed

A Holman orbit, is a Holman orbit, is a Holman orbit.

Absent the use of a continuous thrust engine, or a ruinous waste of payload mass, the time to Mars is a fixed quantity. Particularly if you plan on stopping. The whole point of a Holman orbit is to ballistically "kiss" the destination planet's orbit while travelling at very nearly the same velocity as the planet.

And that's the point of the multiple inner system flybys that a number of recent missions used. Each planetary pass is used steal momentum from that planet to expand smaller orbits into larger ones with a minimum expenditure of fuel, until eventually (if everyone did their sums right) the spacecraft creeps up on its destination slowly enough to chuck a u-turn around the planet and throw out the anchors.

It doesn't matter where you're going, if you're means of travel is primarily ballistic, ie. rocketry, then no shortcut will ever get you there any faster than a significant fraction of the orbital period of your destination. The only shenanigans practical or permissible with rockets is to increase total travel time in order to reduce fuel requirements to achievable levels.

Bigger will always let you send more to the destination, but the fuel requirements for faster travel increase exponentially. Only continuous thrust technology can break that impas.

BOFH: Give me a lever long enough and a fool, I mean a fulcrum and ....

Black Betty

Re: cellphone, mobile, handy

Aussies will laugh and correct you obscenely.

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Black Betty

Re: Feeling Old...

I see what you did there. And now I feel old too.

Uber breaks self-driving car record: First robo-ride to kill a pedestrian

Black Betty

Re: Clear cut...

Jaywalking laws aside, if a pedestrian/cyclist is going to cross a road at a non-designated location then the onus is entirely on them to not move out in front of moving traffic. Newton's Laws will alway trump traffic laws.

Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

Black Betty

Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

Back in my penny pinching days, I recall reloading worn out film ribbon cartridges with regular cloth typewriter ribbon. The print head would gum up every six months or so, but it was easily cleaned.

Fan fold? That stuff cost money. A roll of butchers paper run through the bandsaw a few times saved more bucks for the important things like a second computer.

Suspected drug dealer who refused to poo for 46 DAYS released... on bail

Black Betty

Did you see the monkey trying to put the cork back in?

<no body>

Black Betty

Re: phenolphthalein

Diplomacy convention. Hard to diplome through a cubicle door. Or easy for the guilty parties when on the inside. Earned the club a lifetime ban, but we took the trophy.


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