* Posts by Thoguht

149 posts • joined 10 May 2011

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Boffins Rickroll smartphone by tickling its accelerometer

Thoguht

Re: Hang on a mo...

The whole thing has been misunderstood by El Reg, what they are doing is controlling the accelerometer's output by using sound. So if you have software which is using the accelerometer's output like a fitness tracker or pedometer app then you can spoof the amount of exercise you are getting.

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Firefox 52 kills plugins – except Flash – and runs up a red flag for HTTP

Thoguht

Re: "The browser will now only run Flash"

I've been submitting tax returns quite happily for years without Java on my system - sure you aren't mixing it up with JavaScript?

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Pai, Pai, Mr American spy: FCC supremo rips up privacy protections for broadband punters

Thoguht
Headmaster

Not so clean...

Because (perhaps unknown to the writer of this article), "pai pai" is Japanese slang for a woman with large breasts.

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Forget quantum and AI security hype, just write bug-free code, dammit

Thoguht

What would really help is people not using programming languages that trivially permit things like unchecked buffer overflows. Like the C language family, for instance.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals to be made from old electronics

Thoguht

Do the math

So, if a typical phone contains say 0.03g of gold*, it's going to take over a million of them to get 40 kilos. Sounds a lot, but seeing that well over 30 million phones are sold each year in Japan, it would only take a few percent of users upgrading to donate their old models to get the required quantity.

* This figure is based on a 2011 estimate for the iPhone at 0.034g but then reduced to take account of the fact that gold is getting too expensive these days so it's gradually being replaced by other metals where appropriate

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Watch: MIT's terrifying invisible gel robo-eels snatch live fish

Thoguht

Re: Those hydrogel 'robots'

It's a robot in exactly the same way that Seoul National University's robotic water striders are robots.

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Verizon is gonna axe its 'unlimited' data hogs

Thoguht

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

"Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite", it just means there are no pre-set limits. It's simply infantile to say you're going to ignore contractual details.

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Top cop: Strap Wi-Fi jammers to teen web crims as punishment

Thoguht

Given how tall some kids are these days, if you strap the jammer to their ankle then it would need at least 3 metres range in case they hold their connected device above their heads.

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Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment

Thoguht

Re: Implants to have ID numbers on them.

In the US, this has been standard practice for years. And not just for implants, but for everything in the operating theatre right down to swabs. Everything is scanned in and then scanned out - that way you can be sure you haven't left something inside the patient that shouldn't be there.

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Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on

Thoguht

Re: @Lee D

Actually Lee D is correct in that Galileo ISN'T a read only system if you have enough money as the satellites also carry search and rescue beacon receivers. Once a distress beacon is received, the Galileo system will broadcast an acknowledgement to the beacon encoded in the L1 signal.

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Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Thoguht

Polymers are made ultimately from petroleum, which is largely made of animals (zooplankton). When I pointed that out to my vegan daughter she replied that it didn't matter because those animals had died of natural causes millions of years ago. So apparently this somehow makes a difference.

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No super-kinky web smut please, we're British

Thoguht

Re: Spanking or caning that leaves a visible mark is out, as well as anything involving urination

It's only things classified as "sex works" that can't contain spanking/caning/urination, etc. If it has a standard 18 certificate then very few things are totally forbidden.

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Microsoft plans St Valentine's Day massacre for SHA‑1

Thoguht

Re: Fart in a space suit

I thought it was supposed to be a Volkswagen, not a space suit. Still, I suppose that's an emissions scandal of an altogether different order.

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'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die

Thoguht

Actually the article does talk about energy as well as power, but confusingly refers to "Watt seconds" rather than Joules. I suppose this is because home energy consumption is traditionally measured in kWh rather than MJ.

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UK Home Secretary signs off on Lauri Love's extradition to US

Thoguht

It's the people running the systems that allegedly got pwned so easily who should be on trial and Lauri Love should be chief witness for the prosecution.

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Red squirrels! Adorable, right? Wrong – they're riddled with leprosy

Thoguht

Re: Given how easy it is to cure leprosy these days

Yes, it's easily cured as long as you can medicate the little critters every day for 6 months to a year.

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Brit ISP TalkTalk scraps line rental charges

Thoguht

Why even lock-in contracts at all?

Why can I change my gas or electricity supplier at will, but there is a 1-2 year lock-in period on broadband? Internet access isn't just a utility, it's a human right these days.

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United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up

Thoguht

Re: Hang on a minute...

Why don't they just use the fuel itself as a coolant like they did on the SR-71 Blackbird?

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What the hex is up with Jupiter's North Pole?

Thoguht

You can find hexagonal features in the eyes of some terrestrial hurricanes, so presumably it's a fluid dynamics thing.

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Researchers crack homomorphic encryption

Thoguht
Headmaster

I could be wrong about this, but isn't the idea of homomorphic encryption to let software work on data without DEcrypting it? So, for example, I can write an app that updates a cloud database without at any point leaving any unencrypted data lying (or flying) around.

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Ten-trillionths of your suntan comes from intergalactic photons

Thoguht

Bathe in the warmth for trillions of years?

Damn, you mean I won't be able to get a startan?

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Thieves can wirelessly unlock up to 100 million Volkswagens, each at the press of a button

Thoguht

Re: Just give me a physical key, please

"In a keyless car it should actually mandated they have the same sort of kill switch installed"

The engines of keyless Fords can be turned off by pressing and holding the Start button, or by pressing it quickly three times.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update: This design needs a dictator

Thoguht

Under construction?

If you find a country with lots of houses that are still apparently under construction, one reason may be that you don't pay taxes on it until it's complete.

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This is how the EU's supreme court is stripping EU citizens of copyright protections

Thoguht

Re: Hyperlink

Quite so, in exactly the same was as if I publish a map of London, I am giving precise directions on how to get to the Bank of England and the Crown Jewels.

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I spy a secret High Court: We're no 'star chamber', it says in 4-year report

Thoguht

You would say that, wouldn't you.

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Brit twitchers a-tizz at bearded vulture sighting

Thoguht

Re: Bloody hipsters

Are you implying that twitchers are hipsters or do I misunderstand you? The twitchers I know drink tepid PG Tips from thermos flasks.

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A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Thoguht

Cracked windscreen

Hello, is that Autoglass?

Ah, um, the location of the vehicle? Right.

What do you mean, you don't do Earth orbit?

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How much faster is a quantum computer than your laptop?

Thoguht

Re: Wrong question

Of course, quantum computers are fantastic for gaming. No more agonizing about which path to take or which weapon to use, you can make all possible choices at the same time and then select the best outcome.

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Picture this: An exabyte of cat pix in the space of a sugar cube of DNA

Thoguht

Re: This is all fine until

Since the base pairs correspond to the binary data of the encoded document and therefore you could create any arbitrary sequence of pairs during the process, I'd be more worried about my document actually BEING a virus and wiping out humanity.

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Microsoft to make Xamarin tools and code free and open source

Thoguht

Xamarin for free?

Had to double-triple-check the date of the article.

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Hackers demo prototype security scanner that thinks like a human

Thoguht
Headmaster

"CAPCHA"

Yet another person trying to write Alan Turing out of history.

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We're doing SETI the wrong and long way around, say boffins

Thoguht

Re: Here's looking at us

Surely every child knows the story of Glodislock and the Three Reabs? You know, the one where Glodislock finds a mysterious little magma bubble, goes inside and finds three bowls of lava? :::-)

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Thoguht
Alien

Here's looking at us

Guygals, guygals, I've found this great-looking exoplanet circling a yellow star just like ours, the only problem is it's well outside the Glodislock zone so I doubt if there's any nice warm magma oceans on it that could sustain life :::-(

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What we all really need is an SD card for our cars. Thanks, SanDisk

Thoguht

Re: Copy Protection

What do you think the "S" in "SD" stands for? SD cards have supported DRM since day 1, not that many people use it.

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UK carrier Three in network-wide ad-block shock

Thoguht

I too used to peruse El Reg with adverts until it served me up a virus one Saturday morning a long time ago. It was a compromised ad server of course, but the lesson was learned - block ALL ads.

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Boffins freeze brains, then thaw them – and they're in perfect order

Thoguht

As I understand it, the people behind the current generation of cryonics are touting future nanomachines as being able to repair the damage.

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Microsoft researchers smash homomorphic encryption speed barrier

Thoguht

Re: Snooping

Yes, it would mean, for example, that encrypted "not databases" of citizens' Internet activity could be sent for analysis by third party clouds such as AWS and Azure whilst still keeping both the data and the results of the analysis encrypted at all times.

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It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?

Thoguht

Public domain?

In the words of Montoya the Memetic, I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

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Can't upgrade, won't upgrade: Windows Mobile's user problem

Thoguht

Needs 1GB RAM?

I'm amazed they can even fit it in 1GB. It's basically desktop Windows 10 but without all the legacy Win32 support gubbins. The damn thing even has a "Program Files (x86)" folder (which is a bit strange when you come to think about it).

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Boffins: There's a ninth planet out there – now we just need to find it

Thoguht

Re: Hoagwash?

>it's unlikely WISE was able to see planets 1/30 of the size of Jupiter

Except that the new planet is much, much less than 1/30 of a light year away, so simple arithmetic suggests it should have been visible.

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Thoguht
Alien

Hoagwash?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), confirmation of the existence of a large, previously unknown trans-Neptunian planet will bolster the so-called "hyper-dimensional physics" of Richard Hoagland et al. Some parts of the scientific community breathed a collective sigh of relief when NASA's WISE planetary survey spacecraft failed to find any large trans-Neptunian bodies as their existence was a core prediction of the Hoaglandites' theories.

Given, though, that WISE (if I recall correctly) was supposed to be able to detect a body the size of Jupiter at a distance of up to 1 light year, one wonders why it failed to detect Nibiru/Asgard/Gandalf/Bob.

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KeysForge will give you printable key blueprints using a photo of a lock

Thoguht

Re: Keyway arms race

They had those on Thunderbirds, didn't they?

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Skype now translates in real-time into seven languages

Thoguht

I asked Google to translate what I wanted to say about machine translation into a few languages and back again, and what came out was "It is never enough simply to return the machine to Iceland". But I guess that confirms what I wanted to say.

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Huffing and puffing Intel needs new diet of chips if it's to stay in shape

Thoguht

Surely another reason that people would buy a new PC is that it would be significantly more powerful than the previous one. But this isn't really happening any more thanks to Intel's insistence on wasting the advantage of smaller geometries by just adding more and more transistors to their existing core designs to squeeze just an extra few percent of compute power out of them. Slim down the cores and give us lots more of them (so basically a Xeon Phi but at a sensible price), and stop pretending you can design graphics controllers while you're at it and replace them with more cores too.

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BlackBerry baffled by Dutch cops' phone encryption cracked brag

Thoguht

Brute forced?

If they'd brute forced the PGP password then surely they would have been able to retrieve all of the emails rather than just some of them. More likely they searched the Flash memory and found unencrypted drafts.

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Brit cuffed for Kyrgyz 'horse penis' sausage quip

Thoguht
IT Angle

But don't they actually eat horse rectum in Kyrgyzstan?

Oh, no, silly me, that's Kazakhstan.

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Samsung Gear VR is good. So good 2016 could be year virtual reality finally makes it

Thoguht

Re: Electric Chairs, Anyone?

"A motorised chair won't help you with walking or running."

Well of course you can't actually walk or run when you're sat down, but that's not the point. What the chair will do is give your vestibular system enough sensory input to make simulated walking or running less likely to nauseate you. And things like roller coasters don't work well already on many people precisely because of this lack of sensory input.

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Thoguht

Electric Chairs, Anyone?

Getting the display to react quickly enough to head movement is still not good enough. The real problem is in-world movement such as walking, running, driving, flying, roller coasting, etc. with NO corresponding head movement, and only a motorized chair can mitigate that.

Ever wondered why Lars von Trier's films nauseate you (apart from the genital mutilation, of course)? It's simply because he and his Cinéma Vérité predecessors insisted on the use of hand-held cameras to emulate the real-life experience of seeing things. Except that they don't at all because, as you move around, the ear's vestibular system provides inputs to the brain that compensate for the movement and cause you to perceive a relatively stable field of vision. Similarly, a motorized chair can at least in part provide the necessary vestibular stimulation for you to comfortably experience in-world movement, and over the years it's got quite good in terms of suggesting 6 degrees of freedom of movement whilst its base stays firmly rooted to the spot.

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Finding security bugs on the road to creating a verifiably secure TLS lib

Thoguht

Re: Why not work on an existing TLS project?

You're missing the point entirely. The Inria project is about translating the TLS specification into code that can be mathematically proven to implement that specification correctly. Given the tools we currently have for this type of proof, it would be virtually impossible to do with any real-world imperative language such as the C family of languages and needs to be done in a declarative language. Given the Microsoft involvement, the F family of languages was an obvious choice.

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Big Bang left us with a perfect random number generator

Thoguht

Re: How random is random?

This was essentially what RANDOMIZE TIMER was about in ye olde BASIC, it was seeding the pseudo-random sequence returned by the RND function with the number of seconds since midnight. OK, that's not a high-quality random number, especially for a program run at the same time each day, but it's better than nothing.

These days it's common to use the thermal noise generated by a zener diode rather than the universe as a simple source of truly random numbers for seeding pseudo-random sequences, and the Secure Elements used in SIM cards, Chip & PIN cards and the more secure types of NFC tag (as used, for example, by the TFL Oyster card) can do just that.

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