* Posts by Ken Hagan

6634 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Quick

"Some New Mexicans, I assume, are good people."

Yes, and they need to be protected.

It's now 2019, and your Windows DHCP server can be pwned by a packet, IE and Edge by a webpage, and so on

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Is it Acrobat or PDF itself?

Static HTML will reflow and is safe. Folks use PDF because they are particularly fond of a particular layout, so "reflow" isn't a good thing for them. (In most cases, people are simply publishing information of course and the layout they are so fond of is totally unimportant, but a Wrong Requirement is still a requirement. Sigh!)

It's OK, everyone – Congress's smart-cookie Republicans have the answer to America's net neutrality quandary

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: I've always wondered...

It wouldn't mean that. Instead, someone would invent a plugin which downloaded a video of the website rather than the pages. Then everyone would get the same service. You could call it something sexy, like Flash. What could possibly go wrong?

Yay, we got a B for maths. Literally, a bee: Little nosy nectar nerds smart enough to add, abstract numbers

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: How do we know...

Well you certainly won't find the answers to those questions by reading the summaries in the popular press, so I suppose the original research is the only way to go.

(I do sometimes read reports that, if true, imply embarrassing levels of idiocy or naivety in the scientists concerned. I always remind myself that they didn't write the newspaper article and I'm sure the original paper addresses the glaring weaknesses.)

European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking smartwatch

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Tip of the Iceberg

A quarter of a century is not "ancient history". It's the gap between WW1 and WW2, for example, and you'd be a fool to suggest that the Germans had forgotten the former by the start of the latter. It is also less than the gap between WW2 and my childhood, during which I distinctly remember West Germany being an inspiring example of how *not* to forget the important stuff of history.

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Proof of ownership?

"Happens more often than you think. About 10% of the people listed as father on a birth certificate can be shown to not be the biological father. Not that it matters a lot of the time, being a parent is about raising a kid, not just siring them."

!0% sounds rather high. Any references for that? Nevertheless, I agree wholeheartedly about the raising versus siring distinction. Any prick can do the latter.

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

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Well I cannot speak for Qt (*), but since C++ has had fully automated memory management for over 20 years, I don't think the *language* can be blamed for these kinds of bugs.

(* I did look at Qt4 a number of years ago and found that they were using macros to emulate exception handling, home-grown collection classes, and had a cute little pre-compiler to generate yet more macros. I concluded that if I wanted an MFC-lookalike then I'd probably just stick with MFC. I dare say it has improved since then, but is it perhaps still "bugwards compatible" with the older versions?)

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Rust

"All of these plague languages like C and C++."

Plague? Er, no. These are basically unheard of in C++ unless you are interfacing to an external interface that chose "C" calling conventions (typically for portability). That happens, a lot, but I wouldn't describe it as a plague and you can insulate your code by writing a set of one-liners.

I see no reason for them to be common in C either, but since I haven't really touched the language in a quarter of a century I will let others comment on that.

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

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Who was surveyed?

The article gives a strong suggestion as to who was surveyed:

"Developer recruiting biz HackerRank surveyed ..."

...so that would be "people looking for a job".

That's probably over-snarky, since JavaScript (like C++) is a rather elegant language struggling to escape from several decades of historic abuse. The trick is in knowing what that elegant subset is and how to avoid contact with the awful parts. Sadly, the need to work with (and maintain) existing code (and libraries) means that most JS (and C++) programmers are forced to get their fingers dirty.

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

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: There be dragons here!

"Anyone else?"

My reading of the article was that they can't actually do any of this yet. The OP's concern (and mine) is that if it turns out to be possible to convert "imagined speech" into external output then this might be a nightmarish device in the wrong hands.

Obviously we, the good guys, need to find out whether this is possible before anyone else, so the research should be pursued with all haste.

Q. What do you call an IT admin for 20-plus young children? A. A teacher

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Tell me about it

Note to el reg: we still need a whoosh icon.

Are you a Windows 1 in 10 (1809)? Or a mighty 80 percenter (1803)?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Enterprise

I expect you are supposed to download it when it comes out and then save it until you think it is safe to deploy. Download 1809 now and save it somewhere, in case 1903 is even worse.

We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Nice flag, but a bit too red. Maybe if you ditch the St George cross...

Ken Hagan Gold badge

You think that recent events in Westminster have not engraved that message on the inside skull of every Scot on the planet, living or dead?

Come to think of it, the same probably applies to every English person too. Only this week we've had the "take back control" lobby suggesting that Parliament should be suspended in order to protect the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty.

Apple: Trust us, we've patented parts of Swift, and thus chunks of other programming languages, for your own good

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Can anyone decipher the patents?

They both appear to consist of some "background" describing a fashionable combination of language features (although the language features themselves would all be recognisable to a computer scientist from the 70s, if not 60s) and the specific "claims" relating to the particular design of their compilation system (although the claims don't seem to go beyond sticking a few compilers together in a manner not unlike "make").

The claims also do not mention Swift in particular and so are presumably asserted across any languages that either resemble C or have an object-oriented flavour. C++ and Java spring to mind immediately to mind as examples with both C-like and object-oriented-flavour. Good luck with that...

Whats(goes)App must come down... World in shock as Zuck decides to intertwine Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Telegram

Well, if you want to receive incoming traffic then someone needs to know where you are, for some value of "where".

Straight outta Blighty: Readers, if you were a tech billionaire, what would you do?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: "it's not any sane version of any of the originally-agreed models for Brexit. "

The only sane model of Brexit is the (realisable) one where we sent in our Article 50 notice on the morning after the result, spent a couple of months confirming that there was no middle ground on which either side could build a deal, and then spent the remaining year-and-three-quarters making preparations for a hard brexit without chaos at borders and several million nationals on both side wondering whether they were going to wake up as illegal immigrants in the country where they'd lived for however many years.

However, we got dithering, delay, incompetence and no evidence of any preparation whatsoever. I don't think anyone voted for that.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Money well spent

But since both wanted to turn the whole world into one country (theirs, 'natch), I think this counts as a cosmetic difference.

Oof, are you sure? Facing $9bn damages, Google asks Supreme Court to hear Java spat

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Far reaching repercussions...

"The bottom line is that implementation of APIs and interfaces are copyrightable, but the APIs and interfaces themselves should not be."

Exactly. However, any jurisdiction that disagrees will not be too troubled by the argument either way. It's domestic software industry will disappear in double-quick time and the judges' only contact with "software" will be in the form of shrink-wrap packages written abroad.

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: "Yeah, like it is a matter of life and death if I pour myself 497ml of water"

Er, what country are you living in, coz the UK still sells beer in "proper" pints.

And that proper pint is actually a legally defined number of ml because the UK adopted metric before it adopted the EU. That may have been before you were born, though.

Ken Hagan Gold badge


Your local customs and excise officer would probably disagree. Consistently pouring 499ml is a problem if you are selling 500ml.

Oracle exec: Open-source vendors locking down licences proves 'they were never really open'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Author rescinds GPL license retroactivly (yes he can do that)

Your snipping of Mr Rosen's text makes it look like he is implying that it is impossible, in law, to put something in the public domain. That, in turn, would make all the references to the public domain that occur in law and all the mentions of the concept that have ever been made in court cases, a waste of breath. I suspect that the legal profession might beg to differ on that one. I further suspect that Mr Rosen's full text probably doesn't imply exactly that.

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: national security but without explaining what

FB don't care who you are. They only care that you are the same person that you were when they hoovered up all your personal data and browsing habits.

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

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Biometrics

Bio metrics shouldn't be used for identification either. They are easily copied. They prove nothing.

xHamster reports spike in UK users getting their five-knuckle shuffle on before pr0n age checks

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: If the government

Too true. Yes, I should have remembered that one, too. And there were the Magdelene Laundries. Like the previous AC said, it is quite depressing just how many times this has been tried when you stop and think about it. And usually by people who were convinced that it was the *morally correct* solution to some "problem".

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: If the government

"will see this" ?

I think it has already been tried, with obvious consequences, in Oz and "against" (sorry but I can't think of a better preposition) the native population.

What's the fate of our Solar System? Boffins peer into giant crystal ball – ah, no, wait, that's our Sun in 10bn years

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Boom!

It will whatever lets you pack the largest number of identically sized spheres into the smallest volume. I think that means one big diamond. I'll let others comment on whether the immensely slow cooling rate favours a flawless crystal.

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Pesky microwaves

"One day she muttered perhaps it's the tide while the engineer was there, who had his "Eureka!" CMOA."

Sounds like she (or a friend) had figured it out and just needed "The Engineer" to make an Official Fix.

Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: So where is the new market ?

"You're still using static music files stored locally on a storage device?!?"

Well, that storage device is more portable than the radio mast that brings me Spotify coverage.

And more secure.

And cheaper to run.

And non-revocable by some DRM-infatuated music exec.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Durability?

But if you ask "most people" whether their security and app compatibility is up to snuff, they'll just give you a blank look. I'm not sure that your argument takes us forwards.

CES flicks the off switch on massager award… and causes a buzz

Ken Hagan Gold badge

And yet ... even at the second attempt, CES failed to come up with any of those excuses.

Wanted – have you seen this MAC address: f8:e0:79:af:57:eb? German cops appeal for logs in bomb probe

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Home users...check logs...

"technically literate" but completely naive about how your average plod, lawyer or judge will interpret this.

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Crazy

It wouldn't make any difference. The shutdown is entirely down to Trump and he'd just pay for his own security and then tweet to the world about what a great guy he is saving the taxpayer those dollars.

Hands off that Facebook block button, public officials told by judges in First Amendment row

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Unexpected consequences

"The easy answer is to not use social media certain ways. "

Perhaps public officials could just accept that they need two accounts, cannot block or censor free speech on the job-related one, and therefore ought to be careful what they say (and provoke) on that account.

Then, and harking back to dozens of El Reg articles from the last 20 years, perhaps *employers* could just chill and accept that what goes on in a *private* social media account is *not* a reason to sack someone.

Smartphones gateway drug to the Antichrist, says leader of Russian Orthodox Church

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: The so-called "beast" of Revelation was an STD ...

"Read the original Koine Greek version of Revelation, and ..."

Uh, what? Hold on a damn minute! I've just had Voland's right hand telling me to learn a basketful of Slavic languages so that I could read the original interview and now you want me to learn classical Greek as well. Just *when* am I supposed to find the time for this?

Perhaps I should just take the view that any god who does not reveal themselves to me in my own language clearly isn't worthy of my support.

Excuse me, sir. You can't store your things there. Those 7 gigabytes are reserved for Windows 10

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: All well and good...

"A real killer is the infernal WinSxS directory which merrily chews up many GBs of storage of duplicated files. In theory the "disk cleanup" process can tidy this, however this often doesn't clear up much beyond a few GB."

Many, if not all, of those *duplicated* files are actually hard-linked so that the duplicates are avoided. However, naive programs like Windows Explorer mis-report the storage.

I think a worse case of pointless bloat in Windows is its (default) habit of retaining the MSI for every single patch and application *ever* installed, just in case you wanted to roll back.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Don't worry, it's only money

"William I conquered the whole of England"

Yes, and your logic is fine right up until the Civil War, at which point we find that King Oliver the First conquers the whole country and gives it to *his* cronies instead.

Which is again fine, up until the twentieth century where we find that would-be-King Adolf *fails* to conquer the country only because of defeat by ... well pretty much every man, woman and child in the country, at which point it presumably belongs to them "by right of conquest". Of course, like all conquerors, they've mostly (by now) passed it on to their descendants.

The other great change in the last 950 years is that we've noticed that while "right of conquest" is an excellent (because indisputable) mechanism for deciding who has power, it is a pretty crap method of deciding what to do with that power, so for the past few centuries it has been traditional to delegate that bit to our servants. However, if the servants are going to make *quite* such a pigs ear of it, perhaps that policy needs to be revisited.

You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: A "proper" OS...

"Does Windows support this?"

Yes. Use FILE_FLAG_DELETE_ON_CLOSE (writing from memory) when you create the file.

Supported since NT 3.1, probably because NT was designed to be a superset of both POSIX and VMS (and probably also OS/2 and DOS) and because Dave Cutler knew his shit.

Linux reaches the big five (point) oh

Ken Hagan Gold badge

"Why the hell is support for individual hardware a kernel thing?"

I don't think it is. I think you can happily build a Linux kernel with most of that hardware support chopped out and then load the drivers you want separately as modules, but the normal development practice is to include all those drivers in the kernel-space source tree (so that they can agree on interfaces) and so they get released together.

Apple blew my mind – literally, says woman: MagSafe plug sparked face-torching blaze, lawsuit claims

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Makeup

Thank you for this suggestion. It's the first one that provides a plausible fuel source extending from the spark to the face.

The fuel needs to be vapour, or else the claimant needs to be holding the spark right up against her face. In the latter case, she needs to have left the mask off long enough for the whole room to have become oxygen rich, in which case the whole room would have gone up like Apollo 1, which is not what has been reported.

Fake 'U's! Phishing creeps use homebrew fonts as message ciphers to evade filters

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: BOFH solution

"BOFH part: If you tried to enable html, or send html, or click on a link, you were sent to a "reeducation camp". In this IT Siberia, people are forced to watch presentations on email safety. Powerpoint shows designed to crush the spirit and create unthinking compliance. One viewgraph every 30s for an hour. The quiz at the end requires a perfect score. Imperfect score? Re-do the training."

If you treat users like idiots, they will act like idiots. Crush their spirit and create unthinking compliance, and they will just stop thinking. The good ones will leave. The bad ones will be left to run your civil service and keep the nation ticking over. Is that what you want?

Also, if you have the technical means to detect when people try to do bad stuff, is it not negligent of you not to simply prevent it? That one-hour punishment session sounds like a waste of taxpayers money just to satisfy some perverted BOFH-like urge. I sincerely hope that the government in question isn't mine, but based on how fscking stoopid they have been recently, I suspect I may be disappointed.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: html in email...

I think it would be straight-forward to write a HTML parser-cum-re-writer that did most of the sanitisation necessary. Both MIME and HTML are well-defined and text parsing as a technology is older than I am.

In addition to JavaScript, I'd ban "links to external content, like images or iframes" and (especially given this article) custom fonts. If you can't write an email without those, I don't want to hear from you.

I'd probably want to ban hyperlinks altogether. This forces authors to put the actual URL in plain sight, which makes all sorts of scams more obvious. It also forces readers to manually cut and paste it into a browser. If you can't do that, you need to learn a bit more about computers before you are safe to use one.

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: It really is so much easier to nit-pick and complain

I think I had a few gripes last autumn when the changes started to roll out, but this latest set of refinements has left me, also, with little or nothing to complain about. Bastards...

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Ah, the carefree days of yore

"These means that well over 90% of people learn on a "stick"/manual gearbox."

Yes, but if we are all driving electric cars by 2030 then there are a lot of people learning to drive now with a manual gearbox who will never actually drive such a beast after they pass their test.

Pewdiepie fanboi printer, Chromecast haxxx0r retreats, says they're 'afraid of being caught'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: What the did is grey at best

"To go with your analogy, it's more like someone tried to open your door, found it unlocked, and came into your place to leave a note for you saying that you left your door unlocked."

Or did they just post the note through your letter box, in which case I suspect you'd be laughed out of court. Tricky things, analogies. Given the cost of a single sheet of paper and a few micrograms of ink, I think one could reasonably argue that this was a reasonable way of passing an important message using the only available channel.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Mystified

"you should double-check that the UPNP port is not open to the internet."

What's the easiest safe way for someone to do that?

Encryption? This time it'll be usable, Thunderbird promises

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: That's nice dear ...

"But <b?everyone</b> runs Outlook."

Really? Who the fuck uses Outlook? I haven't touched it in 20 years and I can't recall seeing anyone round the office using it for a long time either. That's not to say that they are using anything better, but any talk of Outlook as some kind of default option for email sounds very odd to my ears.

Similarly, who uses Exchange, and why? It costs a packet, forces you to use Outlook, and delivers nothing that you can't get from free software. You'll be telling me next that these people use IIS to serve web pages, or something?

More nodding dogs green-light terrible UK.gov pr0n age verification plans

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: from 1 to up to 50

You are forgetting that this law only applies to sites within the reach of UK law. 50, in the first year only, sounds over-optimistic.

American bloke hauls US govt into court after border cops 'cuffed him, demanded he unlock his phone at airport'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Just say "Yes Sir"

"If your security and work relies on your laptop not getting stolen, then you're doing it wrong."

I think the OP's point was that he doesn't do it this way. He carries around a blank laptop, for the reason he described in his own post.

Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? Some insiders are confident it is

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Brittle software?

"They can break the website, and at the same time patch Chrome so that it un-breaks it on load."

That's a pretty strong claim. If anyone has evidence that Chrome has code to un-break websites controlled by Google then I think that would be fairly clearly evidence of an attempt to leverage a monopoly in one area to create a monopoly in another, which is illegal in quite a few places (including the US).

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