* Posts by Kubla Cant

2163 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Let's spin Facebook's Wheel of Misfortune! Clack-clack-clack... clack... You've won '100s of millions of passwords stored in plaintext'

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Log in with Facebook

A few years ago I worked on an application that used OAuth. The idea is that instead of doing our own authentication, we delegate it to a trustworthy organisation that maintains a huge database of credentials. It's nice because users don't have to remember lots of usernames and passwords (which possibly also makes it nice for impersonators).

One of the main authentication suppliers was... Facebook. And the ubiquitous "Log in with Facebook" on web applications suggests that Facebook's involvement in authentication hasn't diminished.

In the light of this story that looks about as sensible as letting next door's goldfish take the controls of your plane.

Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k

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Re: I'm lazy. Really fucking lazy!

It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful and document what you wrote so you don't have to answer so many questions about it

So who writes the documentation? "you" or "other people"? I can't help feeling that if you weren't so lazy you'd check your syntax for ambiguity before you devote an entire web site to it :)

Brekkie TV host Lorraine Kelly wins IR35 ruling against HMRC, adds fuel to freelance techies' ire over tax reforms

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@AC fuck off with your avoidance isn't evasion bullshit before you start

And there's the authentic voice of HMRC.

"Never mind the rules, the correct tax is whatever we say it is. Ignore what our online tool says, because we haven't tested it. Just pay up."

I disagree with the idiot above who said "taxation is theft", but there's no doubt that arbitrary taxation is a violation of the rule of law.

'It's full of beer!' Miracle fridge reveals itself to pals tuckered out from cleaning flooded cabin

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Re: I think I've seen that film...

Gayland Stouffer

There's a man who deserves a lucky break.

Boeing big cheese repeats pledge of 737 Max software updates following fatal crashes

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when the Angle of Attack sensor fails, the MCAS system repeatedly adds nose down trim when not needed, until the pilots have to pull on the yokes with 50 kgs of force just to keep the nose from dropping

Solution: stronger pilots!

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Re: As an aside, one thing that annoys me about my car

Not just Peugeot. The BMW 5-Series Touring (estate car) has the same stupid mistake. Also, because the front and rear wipers are on the same stalk, you have to turn off the rear wiper to wash the windscreen.

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Re: Criminal Negligence and/or Corporate Malfeasance? Those are a Rock and a Hard Place

with a commercial aircraft there should be no actual reason for not giving it the best possible stability and ease of control

Apparently, the 737 was originally a smallish plane designed for regional airports. It had short landing gear so it was convenient for places without boarding ramps.

After many changes and upgrades, Boeing reached the point where they needed a model with more economical engines. But they couldn't fit new high-bypass engines under the wing. They couldn't make the landing gear taller because of the way it retracts, so the engines had to be moved forward. This pushes the nose up under maximum power. There's a suggestion that when the nose goes up the fat nacelles themselves produce lift, which pushes the nose up even more. This is the instability they were trying to disguise.

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Re: Want to try to reprogram it so it feels and drives like an F1?

Off-topic, but I think the "bicycle wheels as gyroscopes" theory is mistaken*.

A cyclist essentially balances by steering the bike to keep the point(s) of support below the centre of gravity (when cornering, there are also centrifugal effects). It's harder to balance at low speeds because it takes longer for the wheels to move back underneath you. In this situation most riders also move their upper body over the point of support. The classic example of this is when standing on the pedals to climb a steep hill.

If you can't steer the bike, it's very hard to balance it. Everyone can balance with their feet off the pedals, and most people can balance with no hands on the handlebars. Both at once is usually a recipe for disaster.

* Stand your bike upside down and crank the pedals as fast as you can to get the back wheel spinning. Then tilt it. You'll get an idea how small the gyroscopic force is - especially if you have small or lightweight wheels.

What made a super high-tech home in Victorian England? Hydroelectric witchery, for starters

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I'm puzzled about the Archimedes screw. The picture caption says "Taking water uphill with an Archimedes screw", which is what you'd expect it to be used for. Later on the text says "When working, the screw powers the LED lights in the house's showrooms".

So it both raises water and generates power?

Brit prisoners to be kept on the straight and narrow with JavaScript and CSS

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Re: What could go wrong?



Facebook blames 'server config change' for 14-hour outage. Someone run that through the universal liar translator

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Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

There's a perfectly good reason for not using WhatsApp to make calls.

Last time I checked, most contracts have huge or unlimited allowance for phone calls and text messages, so using either is likely to be free. Many contracts have a fairly modest data allowance, and that's likely to be slurped by things like streaming media and transmission of images. WhatsApp activity comes out of the data allowance, so unless your phone has a WiFi connection it could end up costing you money.

Freelance devs: Oh, you wanted the app to be secure? The job spec didn't mention that

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You get what you ask for

Did the requirements statement specify security? If so, what were the acceptance criteria? Were they met or not?

Any experience developer knows that exceeding requirements isn't really as good an idea as it seems. It can be the cause of confusion in acceptance testing, and subsequent arguments when your Rolls-Royce solution gets bounced back because they only wanted a VW. This is especially true when the job's being done on a tight budget - plenty of comments here point out that the rate for this job was absurdly low.

It sounds like this study was conducted by a bunch of academics with little knowledge of how software development works in the real world.

Packet switching pickle prompts potential pecuniary problems

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Re: Back in my NetWare days

Looks like this happened to a significant proportion of ISDN users.

In our case I believe we had routers that spoofed the connection - representing it as up, but only dialling when there was data for the remote subnet. Works fine with TCP/IP. Less well with NetBEUI, which insists on telling the world it's alive every few seconds.

What happens when security devices are insecure? Choose the nuclear option

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What Sony needs to do is get someone in from Boston Dynamics to redesign Aibo to be the size of a pony with huge fucking razor teeth.

Then they could change the name from AIBO to ASBO.

Is this the way the cookie wall crumbles? Dutch data watchdog says nee to take-it-or-leave-it consent

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Re: Good

Unless the site has a login you are using there is NO good reason for a cookie.

You need to distinguish between persistent and temporary cookies. One of the most common uses of cookies is to preserve state between requests. Even without any login, any site that isn't just brochureware probably needs session state. It's possible to preserve state without cookies using request and response data, but this is really just a diy cookie.

When properly implemented, session cookies are harmless. Their lifetime and accessibility should both be limited to the current session.

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

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Re: Bah!

Men's trousers too, in the 60s. They came before bell-bottoms and eventually died out around the time of tank-tops.

Unless you want your wine bar to look like a brothel, purple curtains are a no-no apparently

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Lostwithiel was the site of a battle in the Civil War. The Royalists won, so purple curtains are quite appropriate.

UK Ministry of Justice: Surprise! We tested out biometric tech in prisons and 'visitors' with drugs up their bums ran away

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Re: Is it just me ?

facial recog that fails miserably

You need to differentiate facial recognition as used by the police to scan crowds, which does seem to have an unacceptable failure rate, from the individual recognition that I assume they're using in prisons. I'd expect that to be about as reliable as the facial recognition on smartphones.

Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?

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Re: See Merlin above

Obvs the Spitfire is best. But the Stuka is distinctive is having sirens (Jericho-Trompete).

Adi Shamir visa snub: US govt slammed after the S in RSA blocked from his own RSA conf

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Re: Weeeeaaaelllll... looky here, we gad ar selfs a reader!

there was too much emigration of the educated, to provide an intelligentsia big enough to give them reasonable politics

It's curious that the proponents of meritocracy never mention its impact on the population left behind. Until the early 20th century, working-class communities might be expected to have the same distribution of ability as the population at large. When opportunities for advancement become available to the ablest, there's nobody left but those who can't get out.

Totally off-topic.

Sniff the love: Subaru's SUVs overwhelmed by scent of hair shampoo, recalls 2.2 million cars

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Re: pedal area

who thinks it's a good idea to use slippery silicon-based cleaners on a brake pedal?

Most hand car washers spray noxious air freshener in the footwell.

Why are there never free power sockets when my Y-fronts need charging?

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There's a related problem with meeting rooms that are equipped with a screen. The hole in the table will typically sprout cables for HDMI, perhaps Displaylink, and boring old VGA. I've worked in one office where the HDMI cable terminated in a multi-ended thing that offering all the different sizes of HDMI plus DVI.

It really doesn't matter how many and how varied the connectors on offer are, because none of them was designed for a life of frequent connection and disconnection, so they don't work properly. It's possible for a while to jury-rig them by wedging a notepad under them or even getting a minion to sit holding the cable in a special position, but sooner or later they die. It's then necessary to take up the floor and replace the whole cable.

Eggheads want YOU to name Jupiter's five newly found moons ‒ and yeah, not so fast with Moony McMoonface

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Re: Did they get to the end of their list of Jupiter's mistresses and rape victims?

They could just call all the moons MeToo.

What's the frequency, KeNNeth? Neural nets trained to tune in on radar signals to boost future mobe broadband

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So "traditional energy detectors" are utterly crap, and CNN is very slightly less crap.

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers

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Re: Why?!

You don't get that with OSS : you're the first-line support.

Most of the time, yes.

But don't forget the Red Hat paradox: you can make a lot of money selling something that's free. Despite the massive contribution of unpaid developers, large FOSS projects often need some source of income, and paid support is often the solution.

Not so smart after all: A techie's tale of toilet noise horror

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Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

The waiting area was near the kid's heads.

Was this on a ship?

(genuinely baffled)

Bloke thrown in the cooler for eight years after 3D-printing gun to dodge weapon ban

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People say guns don't kill people, people do.

As the late Robin Williams pointed out: "But the guns make the bullets go really fast. If you went into a convenience store with a handful of bullets and said 'Give me all your money, otherwise I'm going to push these bullets into your head', people would just laugh at you".

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams

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Nokia phone

Like vinyl records, I find that old analogue Nokia phones give a warmer, more enjoyable listening experience.

Granddaddy of the DIY repair generation John Haynes has loosened his last nut

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Re: "DIY Generation"? WTF?

Agreed. I recall using a DIY manual to do extensive maintenance on a Lambretta in about 1960.

At the time I occasionally consulted a fat hardback called something like Automobile Engineering that belonged to my father. I'd guess he bought it in the early 50s, but it must have been published between the wars. It contained photographs of a very short-haired chap wearing roomy bib-and-brace overalls and an immaculate white shirt. One of the jobs he was shown doing was passing a car mudguard through a massive roller to remove a dent.

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Re: I lost a spanner

Following the Haynes manual, I replaced the engine in a Mini. Job done, we pushed the car out of the garage, whereupon a lot of oil came out of the bottom.

What the manual understandably didn't tell you was to make sure after reassembly that you hadn't dropped a screwdriver down the back of the engine. As the car moved, the screwdriver became wedged between a CV joint and the gearbox casing. I then discovered that the back of the casing is thin alloy, concave to accommodate the CV joint with very little clearance. So now I had to take out the new engine and replace the gearbox.

Mini computer flingers go after a slice of the high street retail Pi

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Mini computer flingers

You mean there's a shop in Grand Arcade selling PDP-11s?

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Grand Arcade?

Grand Arcade is an intriguing choice of location. I've no idea what its retail rents are like, but if the price of car parking* is any indication they must be among the highest in the city. And although the shoppers there are as badly-dressed as everyone in Cambridge**, it's not exactly a geek vibe.

*It famously used to be the case that it could be cheaper to get a parking ticket than to pay for some periods in Grand Arcade. Not any more. Cambridge council fixed that by increasing the parking fines.

**For an awe-inspiring display of sartorial infelicity, try mingling with the glittering crowd in the foyer of West Road Concert Hall.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

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Re: Last-decade ?

It's not just the secular sector recycling stuff from monasteries. St Albans Cathedral has lots of bricks whose distinctive size indicates that they originated in the Roman wall.

I read somewhere that until the 19th century, over half the cost of most buildings was incurred transporting materials to the site. So the temptation to re-use anything that's lying around is understandable.

How I got horizontal with a gimp and untangled his cables

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Office moves

I used to work in an office that moved everyone around frequently. Nobody enjoyed it, until the time when The Most Annoying Person in the Office decided her new desk needed a thorough clean before she deigned to use it.

She grabbed a nearby aerosol can, gave the desktop a good spray, and started rubbing it with a fluffy duster. At which point she discovered that the aerosol wasn't Mr Sheen, but SprayMount*. So her dirty desk now had a nice yellow fur coat.

* a spray-on adhesive, used as an alternative to Cow Gum in the days when graphic design involved sticking pieces of paper together.

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

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Re: No thanks

I too am a long-time Libre Office user.

But all that is set to change now I've discovered that there is an office suite I can use for listing US state capitals. When I think of the countless times I've been sitting in front of the the screen staring at "Little Rock AR, Sacramento CA..." and wondering what comes next. Not any more!

Apple solemnly agrees to pay France $570m in back taxes, turns to camera, gives us a wink

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"mes amies"?

Why does Apple only have female friends?

If you're trying to be gender-neutral, then it apparently should be ami.e.s (see this article in The Economist), but it seems you'll incur the displeasure of the Académie française.

I won't bother hunting and reporting more Sony zero-days, because all I'd get is a lousy t-shirt

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Re: The shirts can be trouble.

You don't even need an orange shirt. Once upon a time we all wore suits to work, but not many suit-wearers went to the supermarket*. I've been taken for the Manager** more than once.

* In the sticks, that is. Probably different in a city.

** Perhaps I used to buy the sort of crap suit that a supermarket manager would wear.

You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias

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Re: you could simply not put the creepy things in your home

I find it hard to believe that a current fast desktop or laptop machine can't handle speech-to-text

I imagine the majority of the computing power is required by the text-to-request phase of command interpretation. Text is really an approximate form of phonetic encoding, so its relationship to speech is more-or-less finite. Extracting the meaning from the encoded request is a more open-ended problem.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

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Re: Annoying pedantry

I'm pretty sure the substance that Elbonians are waist-deep in is mud, not water. Mud is the major export of Elbonia.

Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

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Sparrowhawks, ma'am.

Boffins debunk study claiming certain languages (cough, C, PHP, JS...) lead to more buggy code than others

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Re: Snotty PhDs

MDs will refer to my stepdad as "doctor" but surgeons almost never do

I imagine it's a mark of respect on the part of the surgeons. Long ago, surgeons were barbers and bonesetters, and considered inferior to doctors, so they were addressed as "Mister". Now that surgeons are doctors with extra qualifications, they take pride in being called "Mister".

You like JavaScript! You really like it! Scripting lingo tops dev survey of programming languages

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Re: You like JavaScript! You really like it!


I currently spend my days working in JavaScript, because that's what the client needs (for some reason he hired Java contractors to work on an application that's almost all front-end script). I hate it.

The popularity of single-page applications means that critical business functions are now implemented in client-side script. That's like driving at 120 mph in an old banger, worrying about whether the wheels might come off. In most languages, an experienced developer can review the code and be reasonably confident what it does, but in JavaScript there's always some nasty little surprise.

Europe taps Facebook, Google, Twitter on the shoulder. So about those promises to stamp out lies, bots, dodgy ads?

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an Action Plan to counter the disinformation poisoning political discourse

Good luck with that. I'm pretty sure disinformation an intrinsic feature of politics.

Say what?! An AI system can decode brain signals into speech

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Next, the researchers placed electrodes directly onto the brains of five participants undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy to record electrical activity.

It is to be hoped that the electrodes were part of the treatment for epilepsy, and that it wasn't just "By the way, we wanted to experiment with AI speech, so we implanted an electrode while we had your skull open - hope you don't mind". It's not entirely clear.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s

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Re: Not sure...

I used to like rosés when you could get a dark pink wine with plenty of body and flavour. Nowadays it's all pale pink battery acid. I've seen the craze for pale rosé blamed on "ladies who lunch". I've never met any, but they sound like the sort of people who'd ruin a drinking experience.

Malbec sounds good. There used to be some nice, dark Spanish rosés, too.

Under Armour and Virgin Galactic team up so tourists can stay on-trend throughout white-knuckle ride into space

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Under Armour - most stupid name since Superdry JPN.

Data hackers are like toilet ninjas. This is not a clean crime, you know

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Re: RE: AC

Full name Patum Peperium The Gentleman's Relish

Everyday doings of a metropolitan techie: Stob's software diary

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Re: Still useless...?

I definitely don't want to be the guy who always says "should be using Linux", but I've found it quite easy to boot from a pen drive and use dd to clone disks of any operating system. Are there, maybe, disks that dd can't clone?

Holy crappuccino. There's a latte trouble brewing... Bio-boffins reckon 60%+ of coffee species may be doomed

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Umm... nope.

English wine is more than acceptable, and has been for a long time. English sparkling wine has recently been judged better than non-Champagne fizz from various regions of Europe.

Dear humans, We thought it was time we looked through YOUR source code. We found a mystery ancestor. Signed, the computers

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Out of Africa

Hey man, have you heard about this place up North?

No. What place is that?

The Neander Valley. It's full of these really hot women. They've got the lot - red hair, brow ridges, really huge noses!

Wow! Is it far?

Not sure, but it's got to be worth a trip.

Let's go!

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