* Posts by Suricou Raven

1546 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

The Lambda that ROARED: Amazon unveils event-driven AWS compute service

Suricou Raven


That's a rather obscure reference. Not many people outside of the more academic side of computer science will get it.

But it does allow those of us who do to feel superior.

UK PM Cameron says Internet must not 'be an ungoverned space'

Suricou Raven

I volunteer!

I can do that. I promise to use my powers only for evil and entertainment.


Suricou Raven

Except that currently our entire economic system is founded upon the labor market, and no alternative model has ever been demonstrated functioning on a large scale. It doesn't matter how cheaply robots can make things if you havn't a single penny of income.

Got a STRAP-ON? Remember to TAKE IT OFF at WORK

Suricou Raven

Re: re. Rampant Rabbi, etc.

There are quite a few companies specializing in novelty sex toys. The 'I Love My Ducky' range and anything from Bad Dragon come to mind.

Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

Suricou Raven

Such potential.

This could have been really good, if the writers hadn't taken the old 'power of love' cliche, and had thrown in a couple of one-line explanations for trivial things like the new cyberman abilities. Claim Missy boosted them with Time Lord technology, maybe.

The Power of Love is seriously overused though, and pretty stupid. There's nothing wrong with just the basic idea of cybermen resisting control, with some proper explanation and rules, but you can't just throw it in unexplained like that.

Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD stands

Suricou Raven

Re: I hate product placement...

When it's done right, you don't even notice. That's part of the appeal - if the audience doesn't realise they are being advertised to it can have a subconscious effect without triggering the 'This is advertising, it's all lies' conscious filter.

Suricou Raven

Re: Apple NEVER pays for product placement...

I noticed the racks of Dell servers in the computer office in Numb3rs.

I also noticed the distinct lack of the sound of a hundred cooling fans.

It's also rather unusual for someone using a supercomputer to actually sit in the room with it as they work.

Luxembourg: Engine-room of the tax-break economy

Suricou Raven


How much of this is actually illegal? The standard corporate approach to tax is to be 'tax efficient' - structuring the company to pay a little tax as possible, but without actually crossing the line into tax evasion or fraud.

UK.gov mulls what to do about digital currencies

Suricou Raven

Isn't unregulatability part of the point?

One of the factions advocating bitcoin are the crypto-anarchists, who like it largely because it is very difficult to regulate on a technological level. You don't need banks. No payment processor agencies. Trivial to hide, trivial to transmit, and it allows for creating disposable wallets at such a rate as to render money laundering very easy indeed.

Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water

Suricou Raven

Re: Fav moment

A moment that would have been far more effective had it been a genuine revelation, like the 'dark water' reveal. They did a great job of forshadowing, laying just enough hints for people to speculate, right up until the end of the previous episode - when they gave everything away by showing cybermen in the post-episode teaser.

There's no fun in spotting the cyberman symbol if you already know there will be cybermen along before the episode is over!

Suricou Raven

When it was referred to as the 'nethersphere' I was hoping it would be revealed as a dyson sphere - the work of future civilisation discovering the lack of an afterlife, and finding the concept of death so appalling they built such a vast structure and started time-scooping the people of their past into it at the moment of death to save them.

Suricou Raven

Re: I'll score you a Miss on that one...

I was really hoping for th Rani.

I was hoping more when she was revealed as a time lady.

I was quite sure of it when she referred to the doctor having left her for dead, just as he had for the Rani so many series ago.

And then she ruined it.

The Master is a great villain, yes. But the Rani is something else: She's a great villain, who had the misfortune to appear only in some episodes that were deeply flawed and generally crap for other reasons. The concept deserves better treatment. The Master might try to take over the universe - but the Rani would take it apart, just so she can learn how it was put together.

Suricou Raven

Re: Are these actually cybermen ?

The suits seem to operate pretty well without anything living in them in some past episodes too. It has been suggested by some fans that the requirement for a person inside is largely cultural. Even cybernetic creations may have some psychological issues: If they aren't a person, then what are they?

Curious to know if the UK's Tory-led government is a mega spy? Answer: Yes

Suricou Raven

Meaningless in isolation.

Those numbers alone can't really be used to draw many conclusions.

Firstly, they don't express the scope of the request. As the US cases have shown, one request may mean 'supply the emails between X and Y over the course of this month' but it might also mean 'Send us every email in your records, we'll figure out what we want from there.'

Secondly, there's no assurance every request is listed. There may well be some level of super-secret request which cannot be disclosed to the public, akin to the US's National Security Letters, which are so strictly secret a company can't even reveal their existance to their own legal department for advice.

Thirdly, there's no breakdown of the RIPA requests. The rise may be attributable simply to increased use of electronic communication, particually mobile, which brings a technology angle in a lot more cases. In this case it still shows some grounds for concern, but not quite so much.

Facebook lifts Tor ban, touts encrypted onion access point

Suricou Raven

Re: Serious question

Accessing facebook from any of the numerous countries there it is banned either continually or intermittently during periods of unrest.

This is handy from a free-speech perspective, as facebook does have uses in organising protests and posting news the government would rather people not hear. From Facebook's perspective it's a way to get a little market share in those countries. Probably not a great deal, but better than none.

Hey - who wants 4.8 terabyte almost as fast as memory?

Suricou Raven

Re: Latency

Bandwidth is easy - just add more chips. It scales linearly, basically the same as putting hard drives in RAID0. Double the chips, double and capacity and double the bandwidth. Why do you think the card is so big?

Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?

Suricou Raven

In the US, internet piracy is a criminal matter. Has been since the NET act. Don't know about Canada.

SKYPE has the HOTS for my NAKED WIFE

Suricou Raven

Re: "Stomach" "Gut" "Paunch" "Belly"

I vaguely recall The Simpsons making just this comment - a brief joke when Bart uses the forbidden word, immediately earning a gesture of imminent beating from Nelson which can only be averted by quickly rattling off a string of age-appropriate slang.

FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on

Suricou Raven

Re: Question - what about MS folk who already installed?

Flaming hoops. It should be possible to reprogram the chips, but you'd need to be up-to-date enough with tech news to realise what's happened, and know enough about USB to perform the procedure.

From the perspective of most users, this wouldn't even look like an act of sabotage. You just plug your USB device in, it stops working, it won't work after that. The obvious explanation is that it broke down - who would have reason to suspect otherwise?

Suricou Raven

Re: Tired of fake sh1t

I don't know why it's so difficult to fake these chips. It's a basic USB1.1 interface at one side and a bog-standard serial at the other. This isn't cutting-edge stuff - its 90s-tech. Even a knockoff manufacturer should be able to make one that works.

Revealed: The amazing magical innovation in the iPad Mini 3 – a lick of paint

Suricou Raven


It's this quest for thinness! Manufacturers are abandoning all hope of repairability in their quest to shave off another half-millimeter, with Apple leading the way.

Freescale lassos Ethernet cables around car, calls it 'Internet of Things'

Suricou Raven

Re: I am surprised

I'm guessing they went for ethernet because you can knock up a test system from off-the-shelf bits in an afternoon and it has very good RFI resistance properties. Very nice when your equipment is sharing a battery with the ignition system and the supply voltage jumps up and down like the price of bitcoin.

Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

Suricou Raven

Re: "Serious Crime Bill"?

The 'not very serious crime' is the crime directed against you, a person without either money, fame or political connections.

Suricou Raven

Re: Needed

Yet most cases of hacking cause minimal damage, at least until the adjusters get involved.

Perhaps it would be a better idea to tie the sentencing to the damage the attacker either intended to cause, or could reasonably have believed his actions may cause? And not include the cost to the victim of securing their systems like they should have done in the first place.

Doctor Who and the Dalek: 10-year-old tests BBC programming game

Suricou Raven

Re: hold on...

I think they called it C# because it inherits the syntax from C.

Just like C++, Java, Perl* and just about every other structured language since, including Unrealscript.

*With bits added on. Lots of bits, but it's still clearly C beneath with the curly braces and parameters in parathensis.

Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet

Suricou Raven

That's how it works already.

Ultimate control of the internet rests, as it always had, with whoever has the power to order the technical staff what to do. Either through business processes ('Censor this website or we'll fire you and hire someone more cooperative') or through government process ('Censor this website because we passed a law requiring you do so or face jail time').

This is why, even though the US by far wields the most influence and all other key functions of internet management are run by technical bodies opposed to censorship, many countries have had no problem whatsoever imposing censorship requirements within their border. They don't need to clear their decision with the ITU: They simply have to order the hardware on their own territory configured to block the undesireable content. This is just unavoidable. The US, ITU, or some UN body might make a stern resolution condemning censorship, but they don't have any power to send someone to storm Iranian ISPs with assault rifles and reconfigure their DNS servers.

The only way that could change would be to redesign the technology to resist censorship. But that brings difficulties too - not least of which is that even in the most 'free' of countries there are legitimate uses for censorship that few object to. The only difference between an office blocking pornography on work computers and a state blocking access to reports of their latest injustice is one of scale. The technology is pretty much the same.

It's 2014 and you can still own a Windows box using a Word file or font

Suricou Raven


MS14-060 is not a flaw. It's doing exactly what it was designed to do: If an OLE object of unknown type is found, but containing a link to the viewer, then automatically download and execute the viewer. This is obviously a stupid idea, but it's also an ancient design - OLE dates all the way back to Windows 3.11 and a time when security was less of a pressing concern, so this is one of those 'seemed like a good idea at the time' things.

I've got a new Linux box, how does it work... WOAH, only asking :-/

Suricou Raven

Unity. As in all other fields, Linux had a painful pseudo-touchy-hybrid interface before Microsoft had theirs ready for Windows 8.

A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs

Suricou Raven

Re: Lack of protocols is not the problem, Vendor Tie-in is.

DLNA is a joke because the various companies behind it were more focused on getting their own patented technology included than on making a product that actually works.

Suricou Raven

Re: Making things simple

The connected fridge in theory could warn you about expiration dates and provide a list of items you purchase before you go shopping. That might be useful - I forgot to buy horseradish at the weekend, a connected fridge would have prevented that. But for it to work requires not only a connected fridge, but connected food as well - and as there is no chance of getting people to scan a QR code on everything taken in or out, that means RFID tags. For which no consumer standard exists by which the fridge could go from a tag ID to 'Milk, semi-skimmed, expires tuesday.'

Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors

Suricou Raven

Re: "restrictions should be slapped on the numbers of births in the park."

Just give her the huge syringe with a contraceptive implant and point her towards the bears.

Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express

Suricou Raven

Monster was alright.

It kept you guessing.

I guessed wrong, and thought until the end that it was some sort of telepathic parasite. When it was about to kill the professor and he took his glasses off, I was expecting his final words to be a shocked declaration that the mummy was still in focus - thus showing that he wasn't seeing it with his eyes.

I notice the Doctor being very calm and unaffected by the lack of air at the end. Either the writers just wanted to show him still remaining in control under pressure, or they remembered that his alien physiology has already been established as capable of surviving for a short time in vacuum.

Apple KILLS SUPER MARIO. And Zelda. And Sonic

Suricou Raven

Easy solution.

Buy something android.

It's hardly a an ideal solution for those who value personal control and flexibility in their devices, but it's a lot better than iOS.


Suricou Raven

Re: Ban interest and live within your means

That brings it's own problems though. It seriously hampers growth by removing all responsiveness - if your small company suddenly gets an order for ten million widgets, you can't afford the new machinery to meet demand. It also hampers innovation because new companies can't get funding so easily.

Lending is a double-edged sword. We need it, but not too much of it.

Suricou Raven

Re: Excellent article

TV repair is no longer economically worthwhile. TVs these days are a lot harder to repair than TVs of old. The PSU is about the only servicable part in there - the rest is all secret, computery boards with mystery chips and locked-down firmware, impossible to even diagnose. If something goes wrong there, repair would be so time-consuming and expensive (You'd have to replace a whole board with a part the manufacturer doesn't sell) that it's just cheaper to buy a new TV.

I've one local TV repair shop. I gather from conversations with the owner they have been in serious financial trouble for years for that reason, and are constantly on the verge of going bankrupt. They are one of the very few remaining.

Suricou Raven

Re: Excellent article

The HD upgrade cycle is over. That's why manufacturers are desperately trying to find something, anything, to get people to replace their TVs again. Smart features no-one actually uses, 3D that no-one really wants, the promise of resolutions so high you'd have to be a bird to see any benefit, screens capable of reproducing colors beyond the range of human perception, frivolous colored backlights to shine on the wall behind. I wouldn't be surprised if next year someone tries to bring back the old smellovision idea.

It's the Windows XP scenario: Once you've made a product that just about everyone finds satisfactory, and everyone who could use one has purchased it, your company is screwed: It's near-impossible to convince them to go and buy a new version, so the revenue stream dries up.

Suricou Raven

Spotting the problem is easy.

Finding a solution is hard.

This consumer-driven economy has, so far, worked pretty well. It ensures that very few people in the developed world have to worry about starving to death, and most of them get a pretty comfortable standard of living. I agree, it's doomed - but what alternatives can you offer?

People need certain essentials, like food, housing, clothing, access to utilities, medical care, etc. These things have a resource cost. The fundamental task of any economic system is to make sure that everyone has these things. We currently solve that by abstracting the resource costs into a currency and so allowing them to be traded: I can trade something I have (My time and skill) for money, and trade that money for food. But this requires that everyone has something to trade, which makes the whole system dependent upon the labor market. If you don't have a job, you freeze to death on the streets. Without the consumer-driven waste, there just wouldn't be enough jobs to go around. We'd end up with the nightmare scenario of farmers throwing away excess food while millions starve because they have no means of covering the transport costs.

Industrial processing and automation has brought the cost down to the point that needless luxury and waste are the only way to generate enough jobs to keep (almost) everyone employed. If people stopped buying crap they don't really want, it would be a disaster, because then the people they currently buy that crap from would be unable to purchase the essentials of life.

So what other solutions are there? Altruistic approaches don't scale beyond small communities as they violate the basics of human nature, communism is far too prone to mismanagement and corruption. Labor-driven free-market economics may be an ultimately self-destructive approach, and require the unhealthy habits of consumerism to function in an age of automation, but it seems to be the only one we have.

We've seen the effect in recent years of a small reduction in consumer spending: A severe spike in unemployment rate, people losing their homes, lives ruined.

Google wants to KILL apps with the 'Physical Web'

Suricou Raven

A whole eighteen bytes of URI.

Guess they really want people using goo.gl? Because at eighteen bytes, you're going to need a short domain name.

EFF: Cops' spyware for parents is insecure – and a fat waste of money

Suricou Raven

It's effectively bribery, but there's nothing wrong with bribing a politician providing you follow the established procedures. It's regulated, and called 'lobbying' instead.

'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'

Suricou Raven

Rantic seems to barely exist as a corporate entity, though. This is itsself suspicious: It may well be a front to provide some protection, either legally or in anticipation that antagonising 4chan is likely to result in DDosing.

Suricou Raven

Re: "This is a false flag by /whichever agency/, probably NSA or something."

Paranoia, but potentially justified paranoia. Anonymous have made a lot of enemies - some of them very powerful people, as when they targeted banking infrastructure in protest of the financial blockade of Wikileaks. It's quite plausible some of those many enemies may have decided it desireable to close 4chan, the primary home and recruiting ground of Anonymous, and hired a PR agency to find a way to inspire public opinion against them.

Putin tells Google, Twitter, Facebook: Have a vodka and censorship on the rocks

Suricou Raven

Re: Not even North Korea

NKs done a pretty good job of it. No private internet connections. You can't even make an international phone call - there's one phone company, and unless you can file a lot of paperwork and pay a small fortune for a special international business license they won't put any international calls through. The only radios and televisions on sale, by law, are limited to push-button tuning with all presets hard-wired for the state channels. There's still a black market in smuggled DVDs, but you have to know someone who knows someone - and even then you run the risk of being caught up in one of their frequent crackdowns.

Every so often someone on Slashdot starts talking about how to bring freedom to NK with VPNs, Tor and Freenet, and I have to remind them that those tools don't do any good when very few people can even get a basic internet connection.

There was an amusing campaign a while ago - a group got together to send time-release balloons over the country with a payload of pamphlets. That's about the only way you're getting mass-distribution of anything against the government's wishes. Unfortunately the organization was a Christian missionary group, and their pamphlets were all trying to convince people to convert, so they didn't actually do any good. I suppose you could drop matchbox-sized radios tuned to South Korean stations (Common language, mostly), but the government would just respond by deploying a lot more jamming devices - there's no reason for them to care if they screw up reception across the border.

Suricou Raven

Re: What if.......

Russia has a population of 143 million. Thats a substantial population of potential revenue generators.

Google has four options I can see:

1. Bugger off out of Russia. Take a financial hit. Putin wins (He would likely block non-Russian google), but gets humiliated before the world. Not that he'd care.

2. Comply. This requires the owners swallow their pride and accept that money comes before principles.

3. Complyish. Meet the letter of the law, and use their presence to actively obstruct any attempts at oppression. Censor blocked content to the minimum extent, displaying clear 'Some search results are blocked by order of the Russian government' messages, even stating the official reason for the block or a hint as to how to circumvent it. Encrypt everything, so there can be no mass-snooping.

4. Any of the above, but combined with a bold act to reassure the world that they are no supporters of oppression - perhaps a wad of funding for Tor or Freenet.

Hollywood's made an intelligent science vs religion film?!

Suricou Raven

Re: "cites disproving the existence of God"

God used to live above the sky, and Hell was underground.

Then Science invented telescopes seismic imaging. How did religion respond? By shunting heaven and hell off to some new vague otherworldly place, then retconning and claiming it said that all along.

Suricou Raven

Re: One Mistake

There isn't even a 'gene for an eye.' There are many genes involved in eyes. A lot of which serve other purposes as well.


Suricou Raven

Re: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I'm not so sure about Chuck. He caught religion a while ago, and has been of dubious sanity since. The last time I heard from him he was warning of a conspiracy (Headed by Obama, naturally) to cover up the Parkinson's-and-cancer inducing consequences of genetically modified foods. This is actually one of his saner columns.

Game pirates 'donate' compute power to Bitcoin miners

Suricou Raven

It's a stupid process too. It contains many many services - so when you see svchost.exe has started consuming every processor cycle it can, good luck figuring out which service is actually responsible for that.

TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab

Suricou Raven

Re: Damaged without authorization...

Botnets, possibly? They use technological means to conceal the location of whoever controls them.

Suricou Raven

Re: When it's convenient.

And the NSA does consulting work for both of them.

Suricou Raven

Re: Tempting

It's a handy tool for some of the more aggressive areas of forums and blogs too. There are certain topics which tend to bring out a vicious streak (Politics, religion, football, boy bands) - it's not difficult to incite an internet psycho who will then go off on a holy crusade to punish you for some perceived infraction (Insulting their god/endorsing views they believe threaten the country/suggesting Bieber doesn't write his own songs). I've seen these fanatics go quite crazy - in one extreme case, a particularly partisan political blogger went so far as to impersonate a debate opponent and create a website in their name endorsing sex with children. I've heard of others pulling stunts like contacting a person's employer claiming they were dismissed from their previous position for theft.

With people like that around, taking measures to conceal your identity is only common sense.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019