* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1285 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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Boffins back bubbles for better bonding with beautiful belongings

Kevin McMurtrie
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No nukes, just hyperlinks to follow

It's in the original article. Light penetration depth varies by polarization and wavelength. When all things are in their naturally occurring states, the code is invisible. The difference between two photos, one optimized for the surface and one optimized for the desired depth, produces a clear QR code. The parameters for accurate scanning without human visibility are covered in great depth.

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Moneysupermarket fined £80,000 for spamming seven million customers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Perceived US loophole

Here in the US, there's a perception among rabid marketers that you can keep inventing new lists forever and customers must keep opt-ing out of them. It's not true, but that's what Oracle does. (Yes, Oracle moved into the professional spamming business a few years ago.)

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US Homeland Sec boss has snazzy new laptop bomb scanning tech – but admits he doesn't know what it's called

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flashbacks

The whole Trump administration is giving me bad flashbacks of growing up in Petaluma. The pride in stupidity is terrifying.

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'Millions of IoT gizmos' wide open to hijackers after devs drop gSOAP

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Of course it won't happen anytime soon

I own a couple of Axis cameras and they've been very good about maintaining the software. The camera is actually gaining performance and features as it ages.

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.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: "whether the Navy should be abandoning low-tech backup solutions"

Odds are that the lamp and the person who knows morse code don't survive whatever kills a ruggedized tablet computer.

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Ew! HTC jams pop-up adverts into people's smartphone keyboards

Kevin McMurtrie
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Icky TouchPals

My ZTE phone came with TouchPal. Like Google, it learns auto-completion from monitoring other users. That's where you learn a lot about who's using the app. For example, while typing "Want to get ramen?" it has learned from other TouchPal users that "Want to get r" is likely going to be "Want to get raped?"

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Pastor la vista, baby! FCC enforcers shut down church pirate radio

Kevin McMurtrie
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Megaphone

Switching to the 2KHz band...

Low power transmitters are actually legal unless they're causing interference. I'd prefer that over the more traditional megaphones mounted on church rooftops.

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An AI can replace what a world leader said in his video-taped speech. This will end well. Not

Kevin McMurtrie
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The AI said it had a better idea

Instead of training an AI how to use audio to fix the replayed video, just train an AI to use the original video to fix the replayed video. It's a much more direct route and it can be extended to improving video compression in general. Video compression attempts to describe changes that are happening as best as possible and everything else becomes a flood of image data. Right now those descriptions are not much better than saying what is moving, what looks like something else, and which scene cut is on.

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Crashed RadioShack flogs off its IPv4 stash

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pegboards of old IP addresses

They're going to print the IP addresses individually onto little pieces of paper and seal them in blister packs selling for $19.99. The sale will be staffed with teens that are going to quit the awful job as soon as they make enough money to get out of town. "May I have your phone number?"

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Kevin McMurtrie
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Heart

Re: Snowy

There needs to be a Holly icon for stating terribly obvious facts like this.

Can these icon thingies be hacked?

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Well, that escalated quickly: Qualcomm demands iPhone, iPad sales ban in America

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: 8,698,558

8,698,558 is mixing AB and D amps to provide a modulated power source to the RF transmitter. A whole lot of that patent looks like old tech that could have existed in the 1990s or earlier.

Class AB is an analog push-pull configuration that has very high precision and nearly infinite bandwidth, but it's resistive. Any difference between the power rails and the output becomes heat. Class D is a pulse width modulated switching configuration that has a very limited frequency response and lots of distortion but nearly perfect efficiency. Combining the two results in excellent bandwidth and precision plus excellent efficiency for low frequency and DC components.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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8,698,558

Surely some audio amp nut has already done this many years ago: A broadband precision Class AB amp with current sensors driving a low quality Class D amp providing low frequency power assistance. I was experimenting with this when I was in college and there was no such thing as too much power. I probably would have gotten it working if I could have afforded high frequency power components back then.

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Google blows $800k on bots to flood the UK with 30,000 'articles' a month

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Corrections

"shift more Google ads"

It looks like auto-correct added an 'f' to that first word.

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FREE wildcard HTTPS certs from Let's Encrypt for every Reg reader*

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: HTTP has got to go

There really needs to be a certificate for lightweight digital signatures. Almost all of the Internet is public data that is fine for any observer to view. Encryption is slow and unnecessary when usually all you need is simple tamper detection.

The browsing privacy argument is long dead. Google is watching DNS lookups, recording Chrome activity, and offers site owners free monitoring tools in exchange for some web bugs. Got all of that taken care of? Google sells really cheap domain management services too (with very short default DNS TTL to improve stats collection).

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: An admirable effort.

Since Let's Encrypt does absolutely no Organization Validation, they're a popular tool for fake stores, phishing, and impostor sites. There's no MITM but there's no guarantees about who owns the endpoint. Browsers really need to flag this with a different security icon because it's easy to forget that there should be a title next to the certificate when you're visiting your bank or an online store.

The same could be said for The Reg's cert. It's nothing more than a generic cert from CloudFlare, another popular tool for fake stores, phishing, an impostor sites.

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Tape lives! The tape archive bit bucket is becoming bottomless

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Infinity

I'll take the infinity line. Who can say no to a mural in the datacenter?

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NASA tells Curiosity: Quit showing off, no 'wheelies' please

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Well duh!

If they work 9 to 5 in Pasadena, the rover is going at speeds never achieved by commuters.

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Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Open source users *are* freetards

This is why I hate Linux. Everything is expected to be free and so most apps are garbage that somebody occasionally maintains when bored. When an app asks for money, it's one of these donation buttons that pops up before a trial run and without any promises of support. Maybe it's a suspicious PayPal link that can't be verified in any way. It's not the right way to do it.

Desktop Linux can never be a success until commercial software is socially accepted. Android became a success because it has both free and commercial software coexisting side-by-side. There's money to be made by building good Android apps with support. (yes, I buy them)

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Four Brits cuffed in multimillion-quid Windows tech support call scam probe

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Hello

My name is Bond Norris with the London FBI. I believe that you've been mistakenly targeted as the masterminds of a telephone scam. My assistants and I can review your financial data and clear this up in a matter of 36 hours. Can you provide me with your primary bank account number?

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Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Good luck with collecting that fine.

I'm sure that the telephone network/networks he was using will pretend like they had absolutely no idea that their systems were being abused. 96,000,000 calls with fake caller ID never raised any concerns.

I don't believe for a moment that the FCC and FTC want to stop robocalls when they don't penalize the networks making it possible. Instead they claim they helped promote "Nomorobo" that was completely useless even before it launched.

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OnePlus accused of installing cheat codes for benchmarks with new handset

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Usually the cheat is no different than selecting the "Performance" mode in the Power settings. It changes the governor up/down thresholds so that there's less chance of a pause after one system is done waiting for another to finish.

I'm just happy if the OEM tuning doesn't maximize stuttering or overheat running 2D games that alternate between CPU and GPU use.

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TalkTalk customers complain of being unable to load Amazon website

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Rule #1

Sounds like a dead edge cache.

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Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Building demand

Numerous photo editor authors must have been bribed to create a market for this screen. There's no other explanation for them all having horizontal stacks of bloated toolbars today.

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As you head off to space with Li-ion batts, don't forget to inject that liquefied gas into them

Kevin McMurtrie
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Space only

I'm betting that HFCs and battery defects aren't a good safety mix. They're unstable enough without fluorine appearing appearing every time a defect causes a little spark.

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Oh, wow, Canada: No more carrier-locked phones for Canucks

Kevin McMurtrie
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G

What about the other trick where your phone is "unlocked" but the radio bands you'd need with another carrier are permanently disabled?

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Small carriers aren't showing up to IPv6 standards chats, consultant warns

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not in the timeline

I've always tried to use small ISPs because they're generally more likely to give you an honest internet connection and honest service. Unfortunately, they don't live long. They start off really good at fine tuning the system they have but they never learn to scale, acquire investment money, or upgrade. Eventually they're stuck with a reputation as the "best dialup" or "best DSL" provider years after those products are obsolete. Maybe they limp along as a re-seller for a few more years. If they have no plan for the future, there's no way they're going through all the hassles and investments to get IPv6 running.

It's a shame because small ISPs usually don't know what a mess the competition is. AT&T is still mailing me advertisements for their 20 year old DSL1 garbage. AT&T can't even support incoming connections because they're still using an on-demand PPP layer.

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Essentially puzzling: Rubin's hype-phone ties up with… Sprint?

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Not actually a Sprint phone

Sprint is still punishing their customers using a restricted BYOD list and long contracts for locked phones. Everyone else would buy an unlocked phone.

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Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

Kevin McMurtrie
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Teargas

I thought Katatonia's song was about something else but now I'm in a fog.

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I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

I'm sure he started off with innocent intentions, like trying to land the drone on a passing train.

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Afrinic shuts down IP address shutdown over internet shutdowns

Kevin McMurtrie
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It doesn't need to be political. Tell AFRINIC to clean up all their invalid records in their registry. IPv4 addresses are about to become precious and there's no point wasting them on networks that can't be bothered to administer themselves properly.

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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

Kevin McMurtrie
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Tapes?

Tapes so we can restore from backup? I think we need to roll back to a known working version of the government. We'll loose lots of recent work, but I think most of that's damaged anyways.

Wait, all the backups look like this?

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So despite all the cash ploughed into big data, no one knows how to make it profitable

Kevin McMurtrie
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Math and Information Science failures

If you teach a machine to analyze the behavior of millions of people, it just might learn to predict the behavior of millions of people. At the individual level, that means your machine maybe has a one-in-a-million chance of better prediction than manually researched market segment data. It's useless. Unlike manual research, big data doesn't even tell you why results are poor. The same goes for analyzing millions of low quality DNA tests for diseases, whether or not somebody is beautiful, or whatever the VC scam du jour is.

The kind "big data" needed for accurate prediction per individual is generally not legal or ethical to collect.

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No hypersonic railguns on our ships this year, says US Navy

Kevin McMurtrie
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No budget? No problem!

I bet the Russian government would install the system with easy financing. Just send a Tweet with a link to the schematics.

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

Kevin McMurtrie
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That's a big cellphone

It seems that the desktop and cellphone convergence has hit the product design department. Apple's competing on their own imaginary set of important specifications and software features: pixel density, CPU cores, UI appearance, and the feel of the hardware. I find Apple's strange feature prioritization to be just as frustrating as Linux's crappy software, but at least the Linux system costs a lot less.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Microservices

Microservices are in fashion now so it must be the right thing to do. Coworkers tell me it's how you isolate failures to a single system. I've been assured that it's not just multiplying points of failure and causing exponentially complex fault cycles like it would appear to.

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: It would work if..

Excellent, it sounds like we've nailed down all the safety issues at this point and the product is ready to pierce the market.

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Samsung's Bixby assistant fails English, gets held back a month

Kevin McMurtrie
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Reinventing it all

I'm not sure why every phone maker wants to struggle with inventing their own Android UI elements, their own dialer, their own messenger, their own launcher, and their own voice assistant. These little maintenance nightmares have extremely rapidly changing features and everybody wants it customized differently. License them from somebody else and get back to the core business of hardware.

A good chunk of any phone maker's message boards are filled with comments like, "Please stop trying to fix this train wreck and just help the open source developers with the drivers."

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Elon to dump Trump over climate bump

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Surprised?

Everything in the US government is just following money and power around. Trump would burn the world to ashes if it game him a moment of fame and fortune. Musk's money and power happens to be more in line with what's good for the US - materials R&D, advanced manufacturing, working solar power, and maybe even modernizing transportation.

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Nest leaves competition in the dust with new smart camera

Kevin McMurtrie
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Who buys these?

I suspect that this camera is targeted to people who feel reassured by brand name. Google, Apple, Toyota, Maytag, etc. The products aren't the best but people feel like they're a safe purchase with good support. To some degree, that's true. Playing with various white-label Hikvision cameras shows how deeply into hell things can go.

"Power cycle the camera when it crashes, you say? IT'S A REMOTE CAMERA. I WOULDN'T NEED THE CAMERA IF I WAS THERE."

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Android apps punched out by Judy malware

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trying to make it sound unusual?

Most apps on Play Store get completely hijacked by their own ad libraries. It has a rare trigger, so as to evade detection, but it eventually happens. Some are so well crafted that you don't notice the exact point where the advertisement has taken control. Maybe the only indication is that the system pull-down menu is no longer customized correctly or a transition animation isn't right. It's common enough that I do not install ad-supported software anymore.

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Much-hyped Ara Blackphone LeEco Essential handset introduced

Kevin McMurtrie
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Design by numbers

So many amazing tricks and specifications but none of the simple pleasures in a phone : Front-facing stereo speakers, headphone jack, and a microSD slot. Hardcore phone users (the kind who'd spend $700 on a phone) will like the edge protection but want to know how to replace the battery when daily full charge-discharge cycles take their toll.

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Apple asks FCC to let it run mm-wave tests - for backhaul?!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

It's not like other waves. Most antennas need a half a meter for their waves. Big bulky waves wobbling through the air. That is about to change forever. Introducing iWave, an incredible system that can shrink a entire wave down to a mere 7.665 millimeters. [pause for applause] Starting in 2020, all Apple devices will be able to communicate with this incredible new technology. [video clip of attractive wealthy families communicating with Apple devices] There's more. We've integrated this with a highly secure polarization encoding to ensure that your communications aren't only secure, but virtually undetectable by other systems not using the Apple security chip. [more videos of wealthy attractive people]

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T-Mobile goes Apple/Google route by separating phone numbers and devices

Kevin McMurtrie
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App versus battery

During the beta, activating DIGITS deactivated your number from cellular service so I didn't sign up. It will be interesting to see if they've solved that. The problem is that phone makers are cheating on battery life claims by turning off everything except the GSM radio. Push notifications are very delayed or may not work at all. (These landfill phones don't ring on pure LTE networks either)

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Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: NOx has nothing to do with the fuel

Lean burn isn't the problem. Lean burn gasoline engines have existed for decades. Initially, it was the second intake valve that creates a vortex of fuel under the spark plug. Later it was fuel injection timing tricks. The problem with Diesel engines is that their exhaust doesn't power a catalytic converter well. The exhaust isn't as hot and it's full of oils and soot that are slow to ignite.

Whether or not a diesel engine is learn burn or not depends on how much you're pushing the gas pedal. There's no air intake throttle.

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Chinese e-tailer beats Amazon to the skies with one-ton delivery drones

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

THUD

I honestly don't mind some bureaucracy and regulations getting in the way of drones weighing over a ton.

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Hi! I’m Foxy! It looks like you want to run Flash. Do you need help?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good old days and denial of the present

ZTE customer support told me that getting warranty service is as easy as finding an old computer in a library. I told them that libraries probably don't run Flash either.

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Phishing scum going legit to beat browser warnings

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: El Reg fail

I would say that Google isn't using certificates correctly. Google says they're encryption and protection. They're primarily meant to be identification.

That's why a blacklist should work - you want to not honor any CA that's not correctly identifying a responsible administrator for a web site. When a phishing site gets a certificate, either the identity is wrong or it's identifying somebody who is not properly responsible for the domain. For example, Cloudflare gives out certificates but they don't give a rat's ass where the content comes from or who provided it as long as they get their money. There's not naming a responsible identity.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

El Reg fail

The obvious solution is blacklisting certificate authorities supporting phishing sites. The CAs will start screening customers more carefully or they'll stop being in business. Google would probably do it since they'd only be blocking non-customers.

Sorry Reg, but you'd definitely go offline with this blacklist because you're using Cloudflare. I can't think of any other business in the US that knowingly, even eagerly, provides services for phishing web sites.

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LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth

Kevin McMurtrie
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2FA has been broken for a while

You log in from your phone and a verification token is pushed to your phone. That's not 2FA anymore. It just means that the malware needs to be put on your phone rather than your desktop computer.

Token generator key fobs are a bit better because it must be physically stolen and used before the owner deactivates it.

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And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin hologram ... Sir, it is only wafer thin

Kevin McMurtrie
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Somebody should explain to Min Gu how a hologram works. It can not produce an image beyond the bounds of the screen. You can't project an image onto a retina from a point source either (unless your image happens to be a point). That means you're back to glasses or goggles for virtual immersion.

A hologram watch would be mostly useless. The greater the Z-axis, the narrower the viewing angle before tall and deep objects tip from view off the edge of the screen. Let me know when I can wall mount a giant holographic display.

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