* Posts by asbokid

7 posts • joined 9 Nov 2011

Tech boffins: Spend gov money on catching cyber crooks, not on AV


AV = AntiVirus, not Alternative Vote

And there was me thinking the LibDems were making a media comeback.


Baidu thrives as Google Drive is blocked in China


Google Cloud is in Cuckoo Land

The Chinese people should consider themselves fortunate to be spared the Great Google Cloud Fiasco.

We used Google Docs to store several gigabytes of data online - mostly it was large firmware images for internet routers.

The images were given arbitrary names by the manufacturer. Filenames like V100R102G952S005.bin and V100R102G916S012.bin were common for firmware images.

To identify the images we stored them in appropriately named Google Docs "collections". That worked okay for a few weeks or months.

And then suddenly - twice over - the directory stucture of our Google Docs site collapsed in an unedifying heap. All the files from the sub-directories were dumped in the root director. Some files shared the same name, and this caused overwriting.

All in all an horrific mess. We trawled the Google Products forums for explanations and advice. And it turned out that the problem with corrupted Google Docs directory structures had been known about for 12 months or more. But still noone at Google has bothered to fix it!

How we wish we had followed the Chinese example of kicking Google Docs into touch.. It's a hopeless service that's dangerously unreliable.


UK student faces extradition to US after piracy case ruling


Distinguish unlawful and illegal

In the United Kingdom, the terms llegal and Unlawful do not mean the same thing at all.

Not that you would know that from reading FACT propaganda.

FACT is an industry mouthpiece. It is deliberately confusing the simple distinction between unlawful and illegal acts. It does so for the economic enrichment of its billion dollar bankrollers. Now that's what I call dishonest. You could call it a Fraud: a deliberate attempt to mislead for economic gain.

As any UK-trained lawyer would tell you, an illegal act is one which carries a criminal penalty. Infringing the copyright on a Kylie Minogue DVD is a tort, a breach of civil duty. Nothing more.


Spyhunting US pols to crawl up Huawei and ZTE's ass

Big Brother

Agent Mega Redux

Nothing new under the sun. More often the enemy is within.

Remember WJ Clinton and his nubile White House intern, Miss Monica Lewinsky? Remember her lil' black dress that gotten itself spattered with baby juice?

Remember those compromising phone calls between young-at-heart Bill, 63, and Miss Monica, 22?

Those calls were intercepted within the White House itself.

By coincidence, the official residence had just been kitted out with new telco equipment from a certain telco kit supplier.

Of course, noone believes those outrageous and not-to-be-tolerated conspiracy theories, but.......... those from the lunatic fringe do say that the telco kit had a backdoor installed on the orders of a certain foreign intelligence Agency.

And, so the ludicrous fairytale has it, the recordings of those sexy calls somehow fell onto the desk of that Agency. The Spy Agency quietly filed away its red hot tapes, just in case they were needed some rainy day. And for her part, Monica carefully folded away that dirty dress, leaving it deliberately unlaundered, on the strict orders of her shadowy handler from the Agency.

Bill's naughty little secret of the Oval Office may well have stayed under wraps, had he been making smoochy noises towards the Palestinian Authority. This peeved the Foreign Intelligence Agency greatly. In an act of extreme malice, the ruthless spooks dug out their trump card to bring Bill down.

The tape recordings of luved up Bill sweet-talking his "baby pumpkin" were leaked to the world media, and Miss Monica, for her part, conjured up her spunky old dress for forensic analysis.

Bill wound up subpoenaed before a Star Chamber to unconvincingly tell the US nation that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman.."

His fate as President alas, by now, effectively sealed.


Psst, kid... Wanna learn how to hack?


broadcom: open source parasite

"In Alan [Cox]'s case he does seem to understand that some things are not under their control. He simply refuses to accept it doesn't actually matter to the target audience."

Since the RaspberryPi is to serve as an educational aid, it matters *very much* that the kernel device driver for a major component on the board is strictly closed source.

The very involvement of Broadcom leaves a bad taste. The Corporation has a contemptuous attitude towards the Open Source Software community. Yet, perversely, it is one of the greatest beneficiaries of OSS and the benevolence of others who generously grant a GPL to their own source code.

In terms of OSS, Broadcom Corp is much more the parasite than the patron.

By way of example:

Most, if not all of today's routers (and DSLAMs?...) based on Broadcom chipsets, are running MIPS Linux. In the userspace, tools including iptables, ebtables and busybox are found. This is all GPL'ed open source software. Not that you would know it from Broadcom's attitude.

It took years of legal threats and arguments before *our* GPL'ed source code that had been modified by Broadcom for those chipsets was to see the light of day. See the case of The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) v Verizon Communications Inc.

It is because of that attitude, that many will instinctively frown at Broadcom's involvement in this project. And the fact that the RaspberryPi device serves as a vehicle for Broadcom to gain a foothold in our classrooms must also raise eyebrows in academia.

We know from the Great Academic Sell-out to Microsoft (not least in Cambridge) that the quality and scope of teaching invariably suffers when corporate invasions of our classrooms are left unchecked and unchallenged. If a company wants to reach our young scholars with its proprietary products then it must play by our rules. The minimal obligation is to release all necessary source code.

On a technical point, those with experience in building Linux kernels will instantly recognise the major problems of blob driver code. Most of us have our own personal graveyards of equipment that was sold, like the RaspberryPi, with binary-only kernel driver code.

Those devices became redundant not because of technical obsolescence, but simply because the manufacturer stopped production and soon thereafter, abandoned the release of new drivers. With no source code for the Community to continue its own driver development, the devices soon fail to function with up-to-date operating systems. Outcome? A trip to the landfill.

"Personally, I think the foundation's staff and forum moderators have been incredibly patient with these people. I would have wielded the mighty banhammer against the worst offenders long before now."


With the Official RaspberryPi Forum now safely under control, the Rapid Rebuttal Unit of RaspberryPi has moved on to other internet forums, like this one, to continue the perception management of the project and its relationship with the Broadcom Corporation (market capitalisation today of $16.3bn).


not-for-profit cutout of Broadcom

Follow the money.. Founder of RaspberryPi, Eben Upton, told slashdot..

"our dream scenario is that someone in China decides to copy our design and start knocking out millions of clones. Remember we’re a not-for-profit organization under English law, and all our trustees have other jobs".

Indeed! For his day job, Eben in an executive at Broadcom. The firmly closed source Corporation will be in a dream situation if Chinese cloners take the bait.

There are plenty of better development boards than this one. Some may not be quite so cheap, like the boards based on the MIPS-compatible Loongson CPU, but you do get you what pay for.

P.S. It's distinctly bad P.R. (and poor etiquette) to close a forum thread rather than use the focus to defend your decisions. Is that going to happen every time someone questions the RaspberryPi Foundation?


Ubuntu republic riven by damaging civil wars


There's nothing particularly bad in Ubuntu, except Shuttleworth's ballooning ego.

Will someone find a PC header pin and burst it, puhleeze.



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