* Posts by Suricou Raven

1503 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

MPAA, RIAA: Kids need to learn 3 Rs – reading, writing and NO RIPPING

Suricou Raven

An effective new approach?

There have been two major approaches to industry-led copyright education campaigns in the past.

- Guilt. Tell the children that artists deserve to be paid for their work, and downloading is no different from stealing.

- Fear. Tell them of the harsh legal penalties they may suffer if caught.

The problem is that neither work too well. Guilt is undermined by seeing the vast wealth that successful celebrities flaunt at every chance - hard to feel sympathy when downloading music by some rapper who wears more bling than I could afford in a year. Fear doesn't work because a quick look around shows that the number of casual pirates suffering these consequences is negligable.

So this is a third approach.

- Hope. The possibility that, one day, copyright law could make *you* rich. So obey it now, and reap the rewards when you too are a successful artist.

People like hope. That's why lotteries are so successful. There are still weaknesses. Eventually the kids will work out that being an artist is much like being a professional footballer: For every mega-star there are thousands upon thousands of also-runs who need to take a real job to make ends meet, and their chances of being in the former class are rather slim even for the most talented. Which, realistically, few of them are. But even so, that hope can be a powerful thing.

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Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

Suricou Raven

Re: When does recycling get to space ?

While we're shooting down ideas, here's mine:

Expanding foam.

1. Launch giant can of expanding foam into either low orbit or eccentric orbit, with the periapsis just skimming the atmosphere. Have to be formulated to work in vacuum, of course.

2. Deploy foam. Now you have an absolutely huge *blob* of foam in orbit. Low density. High volume.

3. Lots of tiny bits of junk - screws, paint flakes, etc - and some of the larger bits like tools collide during the few years the Blob is in service. Thus they either get embedded, or smashed into an eccentric orbit too.

4. With such a huge cross-sectional area, the blob will eventually (months to a decade or more, depending on orbit) be slowed down by friction and reenter along with the payload of collected debris, to burn up harmlessly. As will any small pieces that break off during collisions.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Two Questions

On airless bodies, that's easy: A low orbit becomes a suborbital trajectory at the point when the orbital path intersects the surface.

It's vaguer with an atmosphere though, as a low enough orbit will inevitably lose enough velocity to aerobrakeing to turn into an intersect.

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Microsoft won't run Skype in China - a new JV partner awaits

Suricou Raven

Trust no-one.

If you want secure communications, the only way you're getting it is encryption - and of a form where only the recipient has the key. There are a lot of programs that try to make this easy. I don't know any that do video-chat, but I'm sure they exist.

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Calling all PSYCHICS and ball-gazers: Can YOU predict a Microsoft strategy?

Suricou Raven

Return on Micro$oft.

During the 90s through early 2000's, Microsoft became infamous for their very aggressive approach to business and the use of all manner of agreements and technical tricks of dubious legality to hurt any perceived competitors. This was when they were commonly nicknamed 'Micro$oft,' and built a sizeable portion of the company based upon a combination of bundling software with windows and deliberate incompatibilities.

Then they relented a bit and - to some extent - begun to embrace open standards and interoperability.

Right now, that decision is coming back to bite them - and if they are sensible, they may well return to the tricks of the bad old days. The tricks that made them strong, an unassailable force of a company. They still hold dominant position on office suites and desktop OS, and will do what it takes to protect that dominance.

So my prediction for the coming years: More underhanded trickery, behind-the-scenes dealing, proprietary technologies, refusal to support properly any standard they don't own in some way and lots of technologies claimed to be for 'security' that just happen to consider anything non-Microsoft a danger, like Secure Boot. Classic Microsoft - a return to the tactics of the past.

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Martian MOM LAYS another EGG in SPACE - but it's not big enough

Suricou Raven

Looks familiar.

I run that route in Kerbal Space Program.

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Oooh! My NAUGHTY SKIRT keeps riding up! Hello, INTERNET EXPLORER

Suricou Raven

It's not as bad as it was.

The looming issue is audio and video codecs. Microsoft will only support codecs they hold the patents on, not wanting to lend aid to their competitors. While other browsers (Safari excluded) are unable to support the codecs Microsoft does hold patents on, either because they can't afford the license of because the license terms are not compatible with the open-source model.

Right now, if you want to use the new HTML5 video (Which is in every possible way an improvement over the horrors of flash) you need to have two different versions encoded and uploaded, at least: The IE one (mp3 and h264 in an mp4 container) and the everyone-else one (Webm with vorbis, usually). It gets a lot worse if you want to deal with device profiles too - you can mange without, but only by sacrificing either file size or compatibility.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Use the proper terminology

Anime: An English word derived from a Japanese word derived from a French word derived from an English word derived from another English word derived from a Latin word.

At this point, I'm surprised there are still two syllables left in common with the starting point.

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New wonder slab slurps Wi-Fi, converts it into juice for gadgets, boast boffins

Suricou Raven

Crystal radios have an antenna that can double as a washing line.

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Planet hopper: The Earthly destinations of Doctor Who

Suricou Raven

Re: How Much Does It Matter

Planet, no... but there is one episode of the revived series which uses a small amount of footage shot on the moon.

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You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

Suricou Raven

So 1. Is the traditional bathtime photo or beach photo in swimsuit, that lurks in photo albums for a decade ready for parents to show it to the boy/girlfriend?

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WAIT! What's that sound? It's Intel stomping into the 'Internet of Things'

Suricou Raven

Re: Stop......+1

ARM chips are overkill for a washing machine. That's more a job for something like a PIC.

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Tim Cook stands firmly behind pro-LGBT, anti-discrimination law

Suricou Raven

Re: is it 'cause I is black

Obama is in the region where white people consider him black, but black people consider him white.

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Suricou Raven

Re: What about women, Stan?

Checked. It does. Just as for race. ENDA just adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list.

It's got a religious exemption, of course - churches aren't affected.

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Suricou Raven

And religion.

Don't forget religion - I'm not sure about the federal level, but most states certainly prohibit employment or public accommodation discrimination on grounds of religion. This is important, because it means whenever a religious group starts complaining about gays being given 'special rights' or claiming that their own freedoms are being infringed by being forced to 'endorse sin,' you are perfectly justified in accusing them of hypocrisy.

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Bucket? Check. Toilet plunger? Check. El Reg's 50 years of Doctor Who

Suricou Raven

The Eye has been depicted many ways in series old and new. He's even managed to break a piece off (a crystal) somehow, and on another occasion entered it. The fan interpretation is that the Eye isn't simply a physical object, but more of a region of space-time. Like the tardis, it may be bigger on the inside, and being trans-dimensional pieces that appear disconnected in 3-space may still be a part of it.

It's also speculated the Eye in the tardis, the big one on Gallifrey and the ones in all other tardisses are actually one and the same - a many-dimensional structure which just intersects our space at those locations.

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Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

Suricou Raven

In 1000 years, political television and opinion columns will have lasted longer in cultural impact than the dull stories of facts. They will remember the 20th century as the time when the mighty and rightous armies of America slew the evil empire of the Nazis, and fought an epic battle with the communist masters of deception and their European puppets, the Un.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Cool..but also oddly disturbing

You walk down a path. You see a snail, slowly crawling across the concrete. Lost. Unaware of where it is going. So you pick it up and place it down on the far side.

You are passing a planetary system on a routine survey when you find some strange creatures erecting monuments. Odd things. The monuments are meaningless, but they seem important to the creatures, so you spend a few days out from your travel to help them.

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Adobe users' purloined passwords were pathetic

Suricou Raven

The reference.

Has no-one made the obvious reference yet?

Go on. Someone. You know you want to.

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BitTorrent seeks patent on distributed storage technology

Suricou Raven

Pirates would get this.

This bears close similarity to the error correction used by PAR/PAR2 files, which have been a standard practice on Usenet for years.

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Cyber-terrorists? Pah! Superhero protesters were a bigger threat to London Olympics

Suricou Raven

"212 million cyber attacks"

Are they counting every ICMP ECHO separately?

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HP 100TB Memristor drives by 2018 – if you're lucky, admits tech titan

Suricou Raven

Would they even sell it?

Which is best:

- One 1000TB mram, one 1000TB hot mirror mram, one storage controller appliance.

- One thousand 1TB 2.5" drives, another hundred in hot spares and redundant devices, a much more sophisticated storage controller appliance with half a terabyte of DDR or flash caching?

If HP get the tech working, they'd have to either price it insanely high or limit device capacities to avoid outcompeting themselves. The only good point for them is that HP don't manufacture the physical drives themselves, just resell them.

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Toshiba unveils SSD: Claims hard-as-nails kit has the write stuff

Suricou Raven

No price?

I get the impression this is one of those 'if you have to ask, you can't afford it' things.

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Want to keep the users happy? Don't call them users for a start

Suricou Raven

1. Never trust the user.

2. Never let the user realise you don't trust them.

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Open-source hardware hacking effort 'smacked down' by USB overlords

Suricou Raven

Patents.

USB 1.1 came out in 1996. US patent term is 20 years. So any essential patents must expire by 2016. Give it a couple more years, and that problem will be solved. So long as you don't need USB2.0. Patent terms have so far avoided the state of perpetual extension that became of copyright.

There's still the possibility that a troll might have a post-1996 patent which they claim is still essential to USB. Such a claim could be disproven by pointing to USB as prior art, but the legal costs in fighting even this trivial-to-win case are going to be far more than most open-source projects can afford. Also, you'd have to be very careful about not including any post-1996 revisions that might include patented technology.

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Please, PLEASE, Skype... Don't kill our apps and headsets, plead devs

Suricou Raven

Re: 1 out of 3 aint bad.

I've seen 'skype phones' that function not just as USB audio devices, but also have a keypad for calling phone numbers, and will automatically answer an incoming skype call when lifted. I imagine the API is for those.

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Reply-all email lightning storm STRIKES TWICE at Cisco

Suricou Raven

Legend

There's an old story of the 'email laser' said to have occured at IBM, back in the early days of email.

Employee A went on holiday, setting an email rule to forward all email to his co-worker, Employee B.

Employee B, however, was also away - and set an email rule to reply to all incoming email with an out-of-office message.

As the rule was enforced by the email server, there was no network delay - the rate of back-and-forthing was limited only by the email server's own processor speed. The problem was noticed when it ran out of disk space.

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Google fires fresh salvo in war on FILTH: Chrome Supervised Users

Suricou Raven

Well, this should hold the kids away from their image boards. For about ten minutes. At the most. That's optimistic.

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Unsupervised Brit kids are meeting STRANGERS from the INTERNET

Suricou Raven

Re: Data appears to be mixed up.

Publishers have to aim carefully on age ratings. Too low and the game can be 'uncool' and less desireable, but too high and the difficulty of getting it can cut into the sales. Worst of all, get it into the top rankings and many retailers will just refuse to stock it, which is the commercial kiss of death. It's practically impossible to make money off an AO-rated game in the US just because no matter how much people want to play it, many won't have anywhere local that dares sell it.

The rating systems can be silly. The US ESRB system in particular is very accepting of violence but very strict about sexual content. Look at the big fuss about GTA:SA and the 'Hot Coffee' hack. The game glorified violence and gang culture, provided an incentive to gun down innocent people, made a mockery of law enforcement and encouraged dangerous driving. Murder, mayhem, theft and guns-a-plenty - all that and it got an M rating. But as soon as it was revealed that there was a little sexual mini-game left on the disc that could only be accessed by patching the executable, and didn't even feature any nudity, it was instantly re-rated as AO.

Running down people on the road in your stolen car? No problem! Crudely animated clothed sex that can only be reached by hacking? Think of the children!

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Suricou Raven

Re: Good advice

If you even *can* tell them. The great taboo says you can't openly talk about anything sexual with children around, which raises the great prospect of trying to warn children against something without actually saying what it is.

There's a cartoon series called 'Dino Squad' that attempted to do just that. The result was the 'space whale aesop' form of failure: The intention is to show children a certain action is dangerous (sharing personal information online), but the writers were only able to achieve this by giving the action in the show some unrealistic and ridiculous consequences (If you share information online, the evil velociraptor will use it to track you down and attack you).

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Volvo: Need a new car battery? Replace the doors and roof

Suricou Raven

Re: Isn't one of bright ideas around electric cars was to be able to forklift out batteries?

It's a nice idea, but you get the old chicken-and-egg problem: No cars would sell because there are no changing stations, and no reason to build the stations without cars. Unless someone wants to throw a few billion pounds away the economy couldn't get started.

Also, batteries are not interchangeable. There are issues with wear and abuse. With li-ion cells it's possible for a sneaky hacker to almost double their lifespan by bypassing discharge prevention circuitry, for example - at the expense of placing tremendous wear on the cells, greatly shortening their life. I can easily imagine someone applying this 'extra range' mod to their car, possibly without even realising the damage caused. Until the changing station operators start to wonder why their 10yr-estimated-life batteries are all becoming unuseable after four months. Similar concerns if someone takes their car out hill-climbing or for an off-road rally track, and puts the batteries through some serious mechanical abuse. It isn't affordable to have someone test and inspect the battery after each change.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Bang the car, short the battery

"On the bright side, the next time some little turd tries to key your car they'll get quite a surprise."

Can we call it 'Magna Volt?'

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Wanna sell a phone in New York? Better have a receipt

Suricou Raven

Plan:

1. Steal phone.

2. Sell to Fred-down-the-road, who has a reputation for giving cash for them.

3. Fred waits until he has a hundred or so, then drives out of state to his friend Mick who runs a market stall.

4. Fred sells at slightly higher markup.

Not all criminals are total idiots. They've been fencing things for centuries.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Is it really that hard to ID a phone?

It would only be halfway effective anyway. A quick check on ebay shows replacement iphone screens go for £20. Battery for another £10. Add in all the little bits - antennas, accelerometer, cables, etc - and you probably get another £10 or so. That's £40 an iphone just in ebay parts value. Quite enough to justify a mugging.

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Snowden: 'I have data on EVERY NSA operation against China'

Suricou Raven

Not exclusive.

They are both a target and a perpetrator.

The same applies to most countries now. Covert intelligence is just part of the standard national security and diplomatic package, as is putting on a show of outrage upon discovering your side has been a victim of the same methods you've been using on others. It's only spying if you get caught.

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eBay warns investors: Don't expect 'em to stuff stockings with our tat

Suricou Raven

eBay doesn't have a Christmas peak.

They have a January peak, as everyone tries to covertly sell all the useless tat they got for Christmas.

Family keep buying me DVDs of things I obtained by 'other means' and watched months earlier.

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Screw Internet-of-Things: Boffins build Internet-of-Sound UNDERWATER

Suricou Raven

Re: Radio

Or more often, the order 'raise the antenna buoy so we can talk properly.'

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EC: NSA slurps scare you? Europe's clouds are open for business

Suricou Raven

I fail to see the advantage.

Use an EU cloud, and half the governments of Europe will have access - and the NSA probably still has a way in too!

The only way you can trust a computer now is if you configured it yourself and know exactly where it is, in a locked room, for which only you and your small team have the key.

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NSA data centre launch delayed as power surges 'melt metal, zap racks'

Suricou Raven

Re: seriously though..

The breakdown voltage of air is 33 kV/cm, approx. But that's *air*. It's not air you have to worry about.

See that nice plastic surface? Nonconductive, yes? Except that someone had their hand on it a few hours ago, and their sweat and grease still coats it. Conductive! 7KV* could happily travel over a few feet of grimy, damp panel.

That's why insulators on HV lines have that stacked-disc arrangement. It's to stop water from forming a conductive coating in rain or condensation. Stubby ones like you see on rail lines are mushroom-like, a dome shape, so the inside surface is sheltered.

*That 7KV is probably the RMS rating, while what you need to worry about arcing is the peak, which is RMS*sqrt(2)=9.8KV.

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Divorcing ICANN and the US won't break the 'net nor stop the spooks

Suricou Raven

Re: Can you see where this is going?

That might have worked before the eternal September. And it did. But today? Most of the ordinary uses of the internet are the type of people who start each day by opening IE, then binging google so they can google facebook.

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Whodathunkit? Media barons slit own throats in flawed piracy crackdowns

Suricou Raven

View from the other side.

I'm an active pirate, and they are right - we've lost a lot of pirates over the last few years who 'went legit' once legal services became available, convenient and affordable.

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Can you trust 'NSA-proof' TrueCrypt? Cough up some dough and find out

Suricou Raven

Re: Almost unsolvable problem.

What makes you so confident your own memory is secure? There are plenty of ways to get people to talk. Bribery, blackmail, drugs, and let us not forget simple old-fashioned pain.

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BBC's Clangers returns in £5m 'New Age' remake

Suricou Raven

What environment?

They live on a lifeless grey husk with barely an atmosphere to speak off and an escape velocity so low clangers routinely managed to float off and needed rescue. The only other non-robotic complex life form left is a dragon-like creature that has to dig deep beneath the surface to survive on geothermal heat and microorganism-rich subterranian lakes, making only occasional trips to the surface to trade with the surface-dwellers. Their world is about as much of a planet as Pluto.

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Will you strap on a Google KitKat 4.4 smartwatch this month?

Suricou Raven

Re: Not convinced Apple will release a watch

The iTurd would, of course, be more polished.

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Cannabis can CURE CANCER - cheaply and without getting you high

Suricou Raven

Next step:

Give it a name that stops any non-specialist realising where the chemicals were first identified. That's the only hope of regulatory approval. If you start marketing it as 'Canibol' some politicians are going to start meddling.

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Price rises and power cuts by 2016? Thank the EU's energy policy

Suricou Raven

Re: Biomass != fossil fuel

I assume he was referring to the production process. All those logging vehicles, trucks and such run on diesel. Producing biofuels on an industrial scale actually needs fossil fuels to power the process.

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Let police track you through your mobe - it's for your OWN GOOD

Suricou Raven

This is one time when I wouln't mind the government tracking phones.

As for how? Use them all. Cell initially, more precise network tracking where the hardware is available, GPS/google-wifi-database where feature is turned on. An obvious improvement is just to get manufacturers to add a new feature in a firmware update so that making an emergency call automatically activates GPS and wifi listening, and continues to operate it after the call is terminated, sending the location (together with a unique call identifier) as soon as it's available. While the ambulence is on its way to the approximate location and the call-maker is being talked through first aid, the phone can set to the time-consuming task of getting a location fix automatically. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes at most.

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Facebook throws servers on their back in HOT TUBS of OIL

Suricou Raven

Enjoy testing.

Most components are fine under immersion cooling, but electrolytic capacitors are not. The coolant eventually, slowly infiltrates. Without running the servers for years, it's impossible to assess what the failure rate would be.

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Microsoft wants to 'move beyond' the Cookie Monster

Suricou Raven

Re: more to point

Possibly some sort of hash based on IP address+OS version+browser version. MS knows which the OS or browser version change (they run the update servers) so could track a user for a long time on that information alone.

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NASA's Jupiter probe wakes up after unexpected snooze

Suricou Raven

Speed is meaningless,

Unless you can define relative to what. Is that speed relative to sun or earth?

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