* Posts by Hugh McIntyre

146 posts • joined 6 Jun 2007

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Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "Barclays still make you have a debit card in order to use PIN-Sentry for online banking"

Not true, I have a pale blue card with "Authentication" on the top right which only works for PIN-Sentry, not ATM or Debit. It may be that you can't use a non-debit ATM card, but you definitely could get an Authentication-only card in the past at least. Contact your Barclay's branch ...

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Don't listen to the doomsayers – DRM is headed for the historical dustbin, says Doctorow

Hugh McIntyre

One of the complaints in the linked articles is that John Deere does not provide access to troubleshooting diagnostics. ("The EDL is the required interface which allows the Service Advisor laptop to actually communicate with the tractor controllers").

Perhaps what's needed is the same rule as cars, since all cars are required to come with OBD-II access and at least most of the trouble codes can be read with consumer-accessible OBD tools? Seems easy to extend the same OBD rule to other vehicles such as tractors?

In terms of John Deere they probably don't want their competitors using the same software in competing products. For example if John Deere spends a lot of cash developing some traction control software to make a tractor work better, they don't want a cheapskate competitor copying this. Even being able to see the software without copying may let competitors know what to do. Much of this was also possible in the past with mechanical reverse engineering, but probably not as easily.

It does seem though that updated sale-of-goods laws or OBD regulations may be needed to make sure people can reasonably diagnose products they have bought, either themselves or a requirement to provide service access to reasonably 3rd party repair shops at commercially reasonable prices, subject to not just copying the full software.

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Boffins supercharge the 'hosts' file to save users plagued by DNS outages

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Missing the obvious solution?

My first thought was also "why not just use a caching resolver, if the primary is not available?". If the default TTL is 1 day, small outages for common domains should be survivable.

But this proposal seems to be a solving a different non-outage problem i.e. ignoring malicious changes for common domains if you think it's more likely the domain owner didn't change it's IP addresses. For example people redirecting nytimes.com to a malicious IP address.

The problem remains how to distinguish intentional changes by domain owners from malicious ones. It does seem that signing DNS replies by the owner (with DNSSEC) would be a cleaner solution.

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Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Dear gods...

Most or all of the Integrated Circuit CAD packages run on Linux (only or at least mostly). It's true that package and board level design may run on Windows but IC tools use Linux. This includes Mentor's LVS/DRC and similar tools which are definitely up to date on Linux.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Hugh McIntyre

Re: 32/128Gb only

The iPhone 6s did the same - 32GB/128GB only, And the iPhone 7 only supports 32/128/256GB.

I assume the reason is to push people to 128GB since if people decide 32GB is too small and want 64GB, they will be forced up to 128GB since there's no way to add memory later. If they offered a 64GB version with a price in the middle, fewer people would pay for 128GB.

The 32GB version is definitely limited nowadays but Apple probably wants a lower spec for the entry-level model to keep the cost down, and the fact that 64GB is a better choice for many people will force them to 128GB :(

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Judge issues search warrant for anyone who Googled a victim's name

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Wait! What? They have our MAC Addresses?

Nope, don't see the local LAN IP address here from https://www.whatismybrowser.com/. Only the public DHCP IP address on the ISP WAN.

Some of the other info it displays clearly depends on JavaScript, so there may be more info visible with Javascript. Stack Overflow also claims that ActiveX on IE may give the MAC address (not an issue for those not using IE). TBH I'm slightly impressed the warrant knew to ask for the MAC address, but this is probably boilerplate request language from other computer warrants. For example, Google does not have payment info for most of us, I hope, but boilerplate ISP warrant language might ask ISPs for MAC addresses.

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Barrister fined after idiot husband slings unencrypted client data onto the internet

Hugh McIntyre

@ David Nash

Re: "How on earth did an online backup service (if that's what it was) allow content to be indexed by Google and accessible to anyone without credentials?"

I assume from the article that the files were backed up to something like OneDrive/GoogleDocs/Dropbox, i.e. not a real on-line backup service.

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Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Bullshit

I agree with the complaints about extra-territoriality. Definitely seems that it should be declined for this reason.

However, asking for draft messages is understandable because people including David Petraeus have been found out for sharing classified information and having two people sharing the same email account and reading messages in the draft folder to avoid actually sending messages in the hope of not being intercepted. This is almost certainly why the FBI wants the draft folder:

From the NY Times:

"In September 2012, Broadwell told agents that she and Petraeus would use the same email account, saving messages in the “draft” folder instead of sending them. "

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Amazon relinquishes data from Echo that could have dropped eaves on a killing

Hugh McIntyre

Re: It is quite disturbing that Amazon has the ABILITY to satisfy this request

Re: "What purpose is served by keeping data Alexa hears longer than a minute? If they want to use it for other purposes like training speech recognition, it should be anonymized and filed away."

I assume their training wants to group what you say today with what you (same person) said yesterday. So the data stored today would need to be stored with the same anon ID as yesterday, which implies storing a mapping from your real->anon ID somewhere :(. Or less good training.

As such it's not fully anonymized, the same as your Google/Amazon search history may be anonymized when stored and when people do analysis but somewhere they need a mapping so your history can go together.

Personally I don't have such a listening box at home...

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Become a blockchain-secured space farmer with your hard drive

Hugh McIntyre

Re: And in practice ... ?

Re: "I won't be too chuffed if I can't get at my accounts because little Johnny has turned off his PC for the night, or been capped ..."

Or lots of other reasons including "little Johnny decided to delete this big folder they didn't understand which is filling their disk, thereby deleting a 3rd party's data".

It's one thing to have something like "CrashPlan backup to a friend" where you and the friend presumably have some agreement not to randomly nuke data. But it's hard to see how you'd put any valuable data on this system, unless it's only a controlled system within a company (or group of companies) controlled for safety with an IT department.

Highly doubtful unless they are only targeting business users.

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Hugh McIntyre

Re: Payment, at $0.015/GB

The $0.015/GB is per month, but this is the price the person storing the data pays, and compares to the price to rent storage on S3 or Glacier, etc.

As mentioned by Martin Summers above, the amount you get paid for sharing your disk space is based on some obscure scaled formula calculated at the end of each month. But obviously less than $0.015/GB/month, probably a lot less if they need 2x or 3x redundancy.

Apart from the other concerns, you may need to balance any revenue with extra electricity costs if this makes your PC run in non-standby mode for longer.

I also suspect that if this became a large business, some of the ISPs would start noticing customers making money off their bandwidth and might try to add T&C's restricting making money off consumer ISP connections or suggesting that some of this revenue should go to the ISP.

Finally, although they compare their $0.015 to Amazon S3 at $0.023/GB, Amazon also has "S3 infrequent access" at $0.0125, i.e. cheaper than Storj and possibly more reliable because you're not relying on random people's PC's. So it's not clear they are going to win here...

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Big three clouds, Apple, Facebook are buying all the best cloud tech

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Big three … ?

Presumably "big three cloud companies" = AWS, Azure, and Google? (or some other three?)

And then adding Apple and Facebook makes 5.

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Disney sued in race row: Axed IT workers claim jobs went to H-1B hires

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Clear Violation

If you try to read the actual "H visa" laws the details are impenetrable because of too many references to "as defined in regulation <foo>". But at least one of the categories says you cannot fire Americans and then hire foreign replacements directly.

In this case Disney seems to have gotten around this because they switched to a contacting company so they were not directly hiring the replacements themselves and then acted totally shocked that the contractors were H1Bs. Presumably they will claim they had no idea this would happen ...

Obviously the cleanest solution would be to fix the law to prevent this "switch to H1 contractor" cheat. It's also not clear to me why the respectable tech companies hiring "normal" H1's don't lobby for this -- right now there's an H1 lottery every year and people sometimes can't get visas for college graduates because of other contract visas. You'd think people like Google would lobby to tighten up the rules so the contracting companies don't use up the whole quota.

The other issue is an H1B was historically for a specific job at a specific company and specific location. It's not clear how the visa should apply to a contractor position if it's not tied to the specific Disney job, or at least this seems to subvert the original intention if you had a contractor who could work for more than one end company.

In the meantime Disney seems to have acted outrageously here even if they found a legal loophole. We'll see what the court says..

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Analyst: iPhone 7 points to price jump

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Apple phone prices have rocketed!

Just checked in the USA:

Last year the iPhone 6s was $749 for the 64GB, 4.7inch version, I think.

This year the iPhone 7 is also $749 for the similar 128GB mid-point version.

So seems to be no change in price, and I think the iPhone 6 was the same $749 for 64GB at launch.

Still not cheap, both previously and now, but not really changed in dollars.

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Google on piracy: We really, really care

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Time for a change...

Presumably the indie labels would argue that they are providing a bunch of work for the 50% including advertising, order fulfillment, production assistance, etc. The artists are certainly free to stop using labels, find a label offering a better deal, or set up their own label. (Several large rock bands in the past did set up their own labels after releasing the ~ 3 albums their initial contracts required, once they were famous).

Likewise, artists are free to rely on your "solution" of only live performance revenue if they want. But some musicians clearly want to be paid for recordings as well, either directly or by using a label to handle the details. You're free to boycott such musicians/labels, just like you're free to give your own recordings away for free if you're a musician. But not free to force others to follow the same model if they don't want to.

Now, if 99% of musicians switch to live-performance-only then the few remaining die-hards may find it hard to charge money, much like Open Source means there's no big market for paid web browsers and servers any more. Not sure this would be a good thing though, not least because payment-for-music means that consumers can direct payment only to the good bands.

In terms of: "I don't think the artists personal situation with regards to poverty or not has anything at all to do with the discussion." -- sorry, but I do think it's relevant that if thousands/millions of people are enjoying someone's music, telling that musician "you get nothing, go live in poverty" is wrong.

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Hugh McIntyre

Re: Time for a change...

The difference is that back in the day when performers could only make money from live performance, people were not listening to music at home because there were no recordings to buy. So it's not surprising live performance was the only way to get paid (or composer fees/royalties).

Now we do have recordings the situation is different. And the question is whether it's OK for people to enjoy the benefits of a musician's (or artist's) results without paying when the artist may be living in poverty. There's no question that if nobody listens to a musician then they should not expect to be paid, but if thousands of people (or more) do want the music and can afford to pay, then it's not obvious why the artist cannot ask for payment. What if they don't want to go on tour?

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Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Contempt of Court

Yes, the equivalent offence is also called "Contempt of Court". However, that means the same thing as in the UK, i.e. "not doing what a court orders you to do". That's not this case, where it's just a vexatious plaintiff.

At least this case is not as bad as the following one from the NY Times last year: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/business/dealbook/sued-over-old-debt-and-blocked-from-suing-back.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=1

Debt collectors wrongly sued someone and got default judgement, then prevented him suing back to recover the money because of a forced-arbitration agreement in the small print. Yuck!

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Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Zip code for non-US cards @Simon 49

For travelers to the UK, what I did last time is to buy a voucher on mobiletopup.co.uk.

This charges a 99p transaction fee but otherwise gives you a usable top-up voucher.

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Hugh McIntyre

Re: Zip code for non-US cards

To be fair, US credit cards don't work in British petrol pumps either so the problem exists in both directions.

And don't get me started on the impossibility of topping up a PAYG UK mobile phone with a non-UK credit card....

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Nutters

In terms of V1:

Based on the the ATSB article they were past V1 by the time it failed the second time, so continuing the takeoff makes sense. See https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2013/aair/ao-2013-212.aspx:

"During the second take-off roll, the crew became aware of an airspeed discrepancy after the V1 decision speed and the take-off was continued"

In terms of 2 sensors:

Reading the other details, the blockage was apparently not detected on the ground when they checked the aircraft after the first failed takeoff, and they didn't have 2/3 redundancy for the second takeoff because "The aircraft was dispatched with the ADR part of ADIRU 2 inoperative (switched off) in accordance with the MEL". So arguably if they'd continued with takeoff #1 they would have had 2 working sensors, although not meeting the flight rules and would still have had the problem with the flaps.

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TiVo sells for $1.1bn

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "DVR service TiVo" @JeffyPoooh

At least when they started TiVo did indeed sell DVRs, and (along with ReplayTV) were the first to commercialize many of the concepts behind a DVR. In the past their user interface tended to get better reviews than the cable company in-house DVRs. As such the buyer is probably buying a bunch of patents, although the key ones may not have too much time remaining if they were filed when TiVo started back in 1999.

But then they suffered because the satellite/cable companies chose to build their own DVRs rather than paying a TiVo tax.

For a while though, the non-TiVo DVR's were generally clunky presumably because of not being able to use some features that TiVo or Replay may have patented, which sucked for end users put presumably helped TiVo get bought.

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AMD to fix slippery hypervisor-busting bug in its CPU microcode

Hugh McIntyre

Re: I'd have assumed that their test code suite would catch something like that...

Re: "...And to preempt the too-predictable rebuttal about 'obscure timing of interrupts' etc., the Test Code (and associated hardware) can be left running for weeks x GHz clock speed. Test coverage should be a long string of '9's. [...] I shouldn't have to explain this. The interrupts' timing can be (should be) walked back and forth."

You're assuming that AMD (and the other CPU vendors) don't already do this - they do. Specifically random code running on a huge number of systems for weeks as well as all through the design process. And also directed tests where "the interrupt timing is walked backward and forward".

But even with this it's not possible to cover every possible bug. While I've not seen the full details of this specific bug the article contains this hint for the VMware/ESXi bug report: "Under a highly specific and detailed set of internal timing conditions, the AMD Opteron Series 63xx processor may read an internal branch status register while the register is being updated, resulting in an incorrect RIP".

So this is more complicated than just walking the NMI timing -- it only fails if the timing also hits "while the BSR is being updated", so you need other specific unlucky event(s) as well, and possibly requires other specifics such as a particular set of cache hits/misses or VM state to trigger the failing case. Put another way, the fact that Piledriver has been shipping for years with this bug only found now means that "running prototypes for weeks" does not cover everything, because there has been an enormous amount of random customer code running for a lot more than "weeks" on a lot more than prototypes before this bug was found.

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Confused by crazy crashes? Check your Linux kernel virtual Ethernet code

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Why do we accept flaky network hardware?

Re: "Yet we don't extend the same leeway to storage hardware, for example: write a block of data from memory onto a disk and there's no checksum to protect against bus errors in the transfer."

Systems like ZFS do indeed use checksums (or other techniques in some non-ZFS servers) to protect against errors in server or storage hardware, including errors in data busses, disk firmware, etc.

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Uber is bombarding us with painfully probing subpoenas, cries Lyft

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Disruptive Business Model

RE: "can a driver for Uber also be a driver for Lyft? Or are there clauses in the employment contract that forbid this"

Lots of drivers seem to drive for both Uber and Lyft.

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Scrapheap challenge: How Amazon and Google are dumbing down the gogglebox

Hugh McIntyre

Re: *Facepalm* You don't invest in proprietary standards

RE: "you need open standards ... DNLA"

Not sure that really helps :(. I have a Pioneer TV which includes DNLA but in practice both MPEG2/4 have a dizzying list of possible video/audio codecs and you end up with 99% of files not playing. The fact that the TV does not really document the supported formats doesn't help either.

So in practice the easier and better-supported solution is an external box (Roku/AppleTV/WDTV/Chrome stick/etc.)

Back to the original article: either one of the video services or TV companies is going to get it's act together and become known for making things just work for a reasonable lifetime of the TV, or consumers will learn the rest of the apps are just toys and give up on Smart TV's in favor of external boxes. "Airplay transmit video from app on phone/tablet" is the other option, in that the TV only needs to support that, not the individual apps.

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Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Hugh McIntyre

Re: So, networking then

NFS works with MacOS as a client, but I agree that it can be a bit of an adventure, although some of the problems can also be because of Linux being a problematic NFS server, probably more picky than Solaris.

One of the unexpected tricks is that you need to set "resvport" as a mount option on recent MacOS, and can try NFSv4 versus v3 or other debug tricks if that fails.

It does work in the end, but may need some googling :(

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LastPass got hacked: Change your master password NOW

Hugh McIntyre

Re: KeePass

Or 1Password which lets you store the DB locally (not in the cloud) and sync to mobile devices over Wi-fi (e.g. at home).

Probably want to avoid the browser plugins as well unless you want to trust code running in the browser's address space with access to all of your passwords (I don't).

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ISP Level 3 goes TITSUP after giganto traffic routing blunder

Hugh McIntyre

Topical Washington Post story on total insecurity of BGP ...

Specifically (and topically) on BGP issues like this one at Level-3 (but also the difficulty of moving people to BGPSEC):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/business/2015/05/31/net-of-insecurity-part-2/

And more generally, earlier history on why the original designers did not expect so many attacks:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/business/2015/05/30/net-of-insecurity-part-1/

... but as the articles say, early hardware could not do encryption easily, NSA probably objected, and people at the time never imagined we would be doing on-line banking or there would even be a YouTube to censor :(

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Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "Knowing you only have 36 exposures at a time can impose discipline."

Back when I did some medium format, the long time that it took to manually focus, meter, and compose a tripod-based shot meant that you spent a long time really looking through the viewfinder and then often deciding "no, this shot is not worth it" or correcting the composition to get a better shot. Rather than quickly click-click-click with a 35mm camera with auto-exposure. So it's not surprising the fraction of good pictures is higher for medium format, and 4x5 is the same.

Whether 35mm is any better than digital in this regard is questionable though. And, you can take the time to check and compose digital shots too.

Also, film was a big PITA in a studio if you were taking tons of shots with medium format and needed to keep switching 12-exposure film backs at a rate of knots all day :(

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Live a day in the life of Jennifer Lawrence: Tell Reddit to delete your stolen nude selfies

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "The subject of the photograph does not generally have any control or rights"

Actually in at least one small county (USA), someone recognizable in a photo has the right to restrict it's use for advertising or trade, and celebrities generally get a "right to publicity control" which means they get to control use of their images (because this is considered part of their trade). So the subject of the photograph *does* have control/right over the photograph in these cases. Hence model releases to avoid complaints later. OTOH newsworthy/editorial use is protected via freedom of speech, but even then a Release avoids debate about whether the use counts as news.

But I do agree with Cynic_999, that even if the person in the photo has signed away rights via a model release, Reddit is under no obligation to publish photos it does not want to, in somewhat the same way that theregister.co.uk doesn't have to publish user content/comments it doesn't want to either. So Reddit is free to have a policy banning photos based on taste or the subject not wanting them published, if Reddit wants.

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If 4G isn’t working, why stick to the same approach for 5G?

Hugh McIntyre

@BristolBachelor, Re: Strangled by vested interests

Indeed. All the new plans around here seem to be unlimited voice and SMS and only varying cost depending on how much data you use, which implies the carriers have noticed this.

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FORCE Apple to support BlackBerry hardware, demands John Chen

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Erm, wrong

Firstly I agree with all the other posts that Blackberry cannot force people to write apps for them and this should not be made a rule. That's the cost (for BB) of being a minority platform, just as lots of platforms no longer get Flash or AcroRead [*].

The one area where there might be a valid argument, though, is to require enough of the protocol to be public so that Blackberry (or someone else) could write their *own* iMessage compatible app. Similarly to the way Microsoft was required to open up APIs and file formats, but not forced to write a copy of Office for other platforms. This could also have the consumer benefit, long term, of being able to buy a phone from company A and tablet from company B and more compatibility between the two.

The obviously problem though is how you'd decide which protocols would have to be open and which were small enough, so it's very unlikely Mr Chen will get help from the FCC. Presumably you'd just require "dominant/monopoly" content such as iMessage or Skype, with even Netflix being much less obvious, but really it's hard to see this being a rule. In the past some of these open formats were forced by government purchasing i.e. "open the protocol or no US Gov sales", which was enough leverage in many cases.

BB probably shouldn't hold their breath ...

[*] sometimes a blessing?

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Apple tries to kill iWorm: Zombie botnet feasting on Mac brains

Hugh McIntyre

For some reason the bash update does not show up in Software Update :(

You need to go to the web page in the Apple security advisory and install it manually. And no, I have no idea why Apple chose not to bother to include this by default.

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US Supremes just blew Aereo out of the water

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Used to be a remedy for home sickness

There are already products you can buy to watch your TV away from home, for example a Slingbox. Or some satellite/cable companies (e.g. DirecTV) have an app that you can use to watch your DVR away from home. So you may not need to roll your own solution. However both of these require that you already have TV reception at home, and avoiding this monthly cost was presumably kind of the point of Aereo.

What the Supremes seem to have objected to was that Aereo has a profitable business collecting revenue based on people viewing the broadcasters' programs, but without any of this revenue going to the networks. This sucks for Aereo, but presumably they could get legal again by putting the per-user antenna in people's houses (ala SlingPlayer and an old-fashioned antenna on the roof) or paying some money to the broadcasters. And in the mean time, you may be able to use something like a SlingBox.

Disclaimer: I have an old Slingbox in the garage which I used to use round the house, until the delays versus a real TV got too annoying. So I'm neither recommending or non-recommending this. If you need to watch TV away from home it may work though.

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Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Really?

I agree it's strange to say the least.

But maybe the hardware is not sitting there ready to be shipped? For example if it's a replacement server someone else is using, and the existing user needs to move their data off first (this does seem a bit cheap), or some hardware is not in stock 7 miles away? Or, more plausibly, the message is garbled and the two weeks is the time needed to restore the replacement servers to working order after unraveling backups and data brokenness?

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Scam emails tell people they have cancer to trick them into installing a money-stealing Trojan

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Back in the day ...

Containers with HTML and plain text (or RTF and plain text, etc.) are actually MIME multipart/mixed. Back in the early 90s when this was introduced Microsoft was actually sending the markup in a proprietary "winmail.dat" attachment (very annoyingly for non-Windows users), so they were late to multipart/mixed.

PS: even in 1989 (rfc1123), >=64KB was more likely: "Although SMTP does not define the maximum size of a message, many systems impose implementation limits. The current de facto minimum limit in the Internet is 64K bytes. [....] and a much larger maximum size is highly desirable"

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Apple's Windows XP moment: OS X Snow Leopard left to DIE

Hugh McIntyre

Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

I ran into a similar issue a month or two ago on my 7 year old MacPro1,1 and gave in on Snow Leopard when the latest Adobe software wouldn't run any more :(

Lion or Mountain Lion are not obviously available on apple.com, but there's a link to still download a copy of Lion for $19.99 if you need it at http://store.apple.com/us/product/D6106Z/A/os-x-lion. (Similarly for Mountain Lion, but that won't run on the old systems either so you're stuck with Lion). Not free as with Mavericks, but not impossibly expensive either if you want to keep the old system running.

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Intel, Sun vet births fast, inexpensive 3D chip-stacking breakthrough

Hugh McIntyre

Not the first ...

This type of thing has been reported before - for example ISSCC 2009 paper 13.5 reports on a scheme by Kelo University and the University of Tokyo for inductive stacked signalling in a stacked NAND flash product (Like this design, they also used wire bonding for power). And the 2009 paper lists prior art references back to 2004 (also at ISSCC).

Also note that the CTO Tadahiro Kuroda listed in the article was also one of the co-authors of the 2009 paper, so presumably the startup is linked to the earlier research.

I've not checked the details to see if TCI's design is better than the previously reported research, but this is not the first time this type of thing has been reported. Whether it takes off instead of TSVs remains to be seen...

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Chaps propose free global WiFi delivered FROM SPAAAACE

Hugh McIntyre

Re: I see some difficulty

Presumably the idea would be for one group of ISS-operating western/Russian governments to beam free internet to non-ISS Internet-censored countries like North Korea, in the style of Radio Free Europe? The website also claims natural disaster broadcasts as a goal.

As you say there may be an issue getting all of the ISS governments to agree on content though. Plus this is not free since even a small increase in launch weight adds fuel and cost.

The website explicitly says this is broadcast, not a regular 2-way network connection (except for "a small number of users"), and this makes sense since you'd presumably need a larger and possibly Internet-censored antenna to transmit data to space. So no sending email or random web browsing - more like waiting for your page to come round in the style of Ceefax. Maybe also a not-easy-to-obtain antenna for receiving data, presuming they don't expect to deliver useful 802.11 power levels from space?

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US Supreme Court says 'no sale' to Amazon's New York sales tax appeal

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Funny thing...

This is why the proposed federal law that would require e-tailers to collect tax everywhere would also require each tax jurisdiction to sign up to standard categories. If any jurisdictions did not, the retailers would not need to collect their tax. So the category problem, at least, should be solvable.

You still need an address-to-tax-rate database unless this works cleanly by zip code (which I think it does not) and, of course keep up to date with rate changes, so it's still not free.

But, it's also wrong that Amazon gets to put the physical bookstores out of business by not collecting tax, so they really should pay the tax if a workable scheme can be worked out.

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Adobe exec puffs cloud shop: Online features are so 'compelling'... What are they again?

Hugh McIntyre

Re: de-blur?

No -- apparently they've added a "Camera Shake reduction" feature that looks for blur caused by camera motion, as opposed to unsharp mask (or one of the other often-better layer-based sharpening techniques, especially when used with masking layers to only sharpen part of the image) which are just for generic sharpening. There's apparently yet another new "Smart Sharpen" feature but it's not clear if this is useful or not.

See http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/features.html

Of course, none of this masks the inconvenient detail for Adobe that most edits can be done in programs like Lightroom nowadays (including good sharpening), which means I can't be the only person who now only uses Photoshop a handful of times per year, at least for anything other than merge-to-panorama. And this means that upgrading and the full subscription price of $240/year with no option to skip versions is a pretty bad deal. Even if Adobe is sneakily trying to get people to sign up to a 1-year promotion for $120 for the first year, you're then locked in to $240 for every subsequent year. :(

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Star Wars revival secret: This isn't the celluloid you're looking for

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Future Digital

> You mean photographers can actually concentrate on making great shots and not spend 90% of their

> time faffing about with camera settings?

> Please elaborate how that prevents people from taking great photos luddite...

To be fair, if you use a medium format camera (or DSLR on a tripod) and need to spend a few minutes getting the shot set up exactly, there's more chance you'll take time to look through the viewfinder long enough to check the composition and sometimes pack up the camera after deciding the photo is not worth taking. Or notice the tree sticking out of someone's head, or change the composition to something better than any of the 15 DSLR shots. Pus it saves time fixing up the shot on your computer later.

Although I agree that you can go to extremes with a view camera and spend all of your time on settings.

Having said that, being able to verify shots taken on the camera screen is invaluable, and I probably haven't shot film for nearly 10 years and now come back with my hundreds of DSLR shots like everyone else :).

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Microsoft SkyDrive, Outlook stricken by cloud outage

Hugh McIntyre

NY Times also struggling this morning

The NY Times was also down for a while this morning and struggling afterwards. Apparently some suspicion of a DNS screw-up from some external commenters. Perhaps related, or the NY Times is depending on Microsoft hosting?

1
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Chip makers shine up wafers and foils for 25th Hot Chips jamboree

Hugh McIntyre

You might want to check out a book Bob wrote called The Pentium Chronicles.

Bob Colwell joined as one of the original architects of the P6 (the first OOO Pentium Pro/Pentium II and all that followed), which was indeed a home run for Intel and really was the chip that led to generic servers using x86 and not RISC chips today. Based on the book and also the opportunity to hear him talk to a small group a few years ago, he was also involved in defending this team from the legacy P5 Pentium (at 1/2 the performance) and Itanium at this time too.

The fact that Bob's team also worked on Willamette later on (before he left) does not reduce the success and impact of P6 on the industry.

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Google SELLS OUT the INTERNET HIPPIES! AGAIN!

Hugh McIntyre

Blocking outgoing port 25 (was: Re: Standard Terms and Conditions)

Comcast Xfinity does the same. The workaround is to configure your mail client and any internal/external mail servers to submit over the "submission" port instead (465 if using SSL, or 587 if not). For example, see http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/email-port-25-no-longer-supported/.

Changing the setup to 465/587 is pretty easy (or automated) for the mail client, but was kind of a pain to get my external postfix server reconfigured to allow :(. Definitely doable though, and easier than a second line. Likewise for any internal mail server(s) needed to allow command-line mail from cron jobs to get delivered.

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Ubuntu 13.10 to ship with Mir instead of X

Hugh McIntyre

Re: BULL!

Actually, X is arguably more of a protocol than an API, in that it traditionally at least specified things like "server must report any and all mouse movement events to the client, all the time" which turned out to be a bad thing when people wanted to implement Low Bandwidth X and avoid wasting bandwidth and latency on event updates the client almost always does not need. While LBX could try to ignore these updates, the basic API did not know if something higher up in the client (than XDrawLines) wanted the event updates, which made this type of optimization hard.

At least in X11, both the API (libX11.so or libgnome.so or whatever) and the protocol over the wire are both specified.

Now, without going away from X, there would have been nothing to prevent the server allowing newer clients to connect over "X12" and have this based on a newer and simpler API, with the over-the-wire part hidden from the client. If you support over-the-network clients or really anything where the client might be using an older version of the API library than the server, you're still going to need some "protocol" to specify how they interact though, even if this is versioned to support changes.

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Apple chief Cook: You - senators. Get in here and redo this tax law

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Two Different Issues

Re: "Mr Cook should be very wary (said by Walter Koenig for comedic effect), as those changes might be retroactive."

Should be safe on any retroactive concern at least, because the constitution forbids ex post facto laws.

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