* Posts by Suricou Raven

1524 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

Boffins have constructed a new LIGHT SABRE. Their skills are complete

Suricou Raven

Re: Exactly

I gave a lot of thought to this myself, but concluded there was no way a sabre effect could be achieved.

I have designed a force field, though. I think it would work. It just has a few minor practical issues, like requiring the entire output of a power station to generate a field big enough to block a corridoor, an a tendency to incinerate anything that touches it. But the theory would work: You could flip marbles at it and they would just bounce off.

One day I will find a way to build it. I think I could run a small-scale prototype off no more than twenty kilowatts or so.

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Disk-pushers, get reel: Even GOOGLE relies on tape

Suricou Raven

Fiddling the numbers.

I wish the vendors would stop giving 'compressed' capacity. The bulk of data going on tape now consists of already-compressed multimedia and already-compressed office documents. That 2:1 is hopelessly optimistic.

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USB 3.1 demo shows new spec well on its way towards 1.2GB/sec goal

Suricou Raven

Re: The question is...

There are a few reasons.

1. USB3 is already incorporated into some of the standard chipsets that mainboards are built around.

2. Thunderbolt takes one PCIe lane per port. USB3 takes one for the lot.

3. Thunderbolt is very, very electrically delicate - that's why it needs active cables and a lot of screening. It takes great care in board layout and extensive testing to make sure it is reliable.

4. USB3 is established, which means economy of scale in manufacture.

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Suricou Raven

Niches

Firewire lives on as the interface of choice for AV peripherals, as it can offer reliably low latency and guaranted delivery.

Thunderbolt may just be the new firewire: A bit pricy, but still used for things like external tape drives, video capture, high-speed cameras and scientific equipment where it's important that every frame of data makes it intact without something else on the bus pre-empting.

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Suricou Raven

Re: Bleak

Can you oppress people forever if you control a huge army of expendable robots?

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Suricou Raven

Re: Free time! And then what?

With one difference: In this 'society of plenty,' people would have the choice between making pizzas and spending the day down the pub. No more people enslaved to eight hours a day in a job they loathe just to pay the rent. Perhaps work would give a few extra privileges, but it need not be essential to survive as it is now. That opens up a lot more time for things people enjoy doing.

How many great artists have we not seen because their most productive years were instead spent stacking the shelves at Asda?

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Suricou Raven

Re: Just close the loop entirely

Do not insult the birds. We can do the tool use thing too.

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Suricou Raven

I see a flaw.

You assume that robotics bring the cost of production down to zero. That isn't going to happen: There are still raw materials to buy and energy costs.

So perhaps food will come down to the equivilent of just a few pounds per week to feed the family, with robots making it from planting to processing. But that's still a few pounds that the newly-unemployed masses won't have. Markets can only function if the consumer actually has some income, even if only a tiny amount, to spend.

It could well lead to a positive feedback loop: The robots take a few jobs, which increases unemployment, which decreases consumption, which leads to a further reduction in jobs.

While a robotic work-free utopia is possible in theory, it's hard to see how the current market-driven economic model could function in such a situation. You can't expect manufacturers to simply give away goods out of altuism.

There are some solutions. The government could issue a basic income, perhaps, though funding it would be a great difficulty. Or abandon market solutions entirely for the most vital goods like food and go full-on communist, nationalising production.

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Pizza drones, mad cyclists and Bitcoin-for-arms traders: A vision of LNDN 2023

Suricou Raven

Re: grow their own tomatoes

I expect they'll need some sort of tomato production permit.

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Suricou Raven

Re: What a load of Tosh

Steve was on the list: One of the recurring themes predicted was the decline of conventional full-time employment, as employers turn instead to the cheaper and more flexible option of zero-hours contracts and serial temp workers. Several of the hypothetical Londoners were described as squeezing in with family because they can't afford to support themselves on the pitiful and unreliable income they make on the odd-job market.

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NSA spooks tooled up with zero-day PC security exploits from the FRENCH

Suricou Raven

Re: Crock of shit

In theory, they answer to Congress. In practice, they have outright lied to congress in the past to conceal just what they are up to.

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ISPs set to install network-level smut filters despite Lib Dem opposition

Suricou Raven

It has been known to cause trouble with some sites - advertisers detecting what looks like click-inflating, forms being double-submitted, things like that.

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Want to sit in Picard's chair while spying on THE WORLD? We can make it so – ex-NSA man

Suricou Raven

I imagine the NSA trusts only themselves as a certificate signing authority, as they know how easy the others are to bribe/threaten/infiltrate.

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Suricou Raven

Re: "massive protection screen on the forward wall"

I never really saw the point of having a front view of the stars flying past while warping. I just assumed it was a screensaver. Same one we use now, just in higher resolution.

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Tape's NOT dead. WHOMP: This 8.5TB Oracle drive proves it

Suricou Raven

Lies.

Quoting compressed capacity? Hah. Old trick.

- The 3:1 figure was almost true in the 90s. Back when all the bulky files were uncompressed and largely contained ascii text. Now days, no longer true: The big files are mostly compressed media, and even office documents have their own compression.

- The compression on tape rather sucks - even in hardware, you can't compress well while hitting the speed target. 3:1 is optimistic.

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Suricou Raven

Pricing.

If you have to ask, you cannot afford it.

Really, tape can beat disk in per-gig costs, but the gap has closed - the break-even point is now so high, you need a truely ridiculous amount of storage before the economics of scale hand tape the price advantage. Something like this.

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Suricou Raven

Re: All day and then some for backup

Sometimes you don't need fast restore. Think media libraries for content houses. You don't need ten years worth of accumulated stock footage, old textures, finished projects and various models immediately to hand, but artists draw on those resources often enough that you don't want to just delete them.

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Intel reveals 14nm PC, declares Moore's Law 'alive and well'

Suricou Raven

If Google Glass and the imitators take off, augmented reality will inevitably follow. That's going to create a lot of demand for high-performance yet low-power and compact processors to handle the image processing part.

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Canadian family gives up modern tech to live like it's 1986

Suricou Raven

BBC did it.

They did a three-part show called 'Electric Dreams,' where they reverted a family home to 70s technology then advanced it at the rate of one decade per week and filmed how the family handled it.

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US intelligence: Snowden's latest leaks 'road map' for adversaries

Suricou Raven

Re: Security "mistakes"

WPA is actually a rather weird system. It has to be, because cards at the time had hardware support for WEP encryption, and part of the WPA goals was to be implimentable by firmware or driver update on existing hardware. So WPA essentially uses WEP for the actual encryption, but changes the WEP key constantly according to a pattern determine by the WPA key - thus defeating the statistical attacks to which WEP is vulnerable.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Americans safe from... What?

Probably quite a few, but the leaks also show the use of 'parallel construction' in high-profile cases to allow law enforcement to deny the NSA's involvement. As far as the accused knows, the police just had an amazing strike of luck or an anonymous tip-off.

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Now we know why UK spooks simply shrugged at SSL encryption

Suricou Raven

Re: The code-ring on the golf course

Not all has a short shelf life.

President: Mr A.Noying has risen to the leadership of this protest group. He could inconvenience me. Got any dirt?

NSA: Decrypting... here we go. The usual kinky porn and such minor embarassments, and... ah, in an email to a friend ten years ago he admitted he once hacked some 'Church of Scientology' as part of an internet protest.

President: I'll leak all the usernames and such for the porn to the popular press, and urge the church to file criminal charges. Thanks! That should get him out of my hair for a while.

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Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption

Suricou Raven

Re: Disinformation is their secret weapon

I'm surprised no-one has released a OTP VPN. It should be quite practical for the common business usage.

1. HQ fills a portable 2.5" drive with, say, 250GB of randomness. Keeps another copy on their VPN server.

2. Remote worker goes off on their business trip, keeping the drive on their person.

3. VPN using the drive as a OTP. Easiest way would be to have one side of the conversation start XORing at the beginning of the drive and one and the end. Erase the OTP from the drive as it's used up, in case of later confiscation.

4. When worker gets back from the business trip, refill the OTP drive before the next one.

Obviously you could only send as much data as the drive can hold for the OTP, but 250GB is still quite enough to last a business trip - and if you need more, you can always just take a couple of 1TB drives.

If the remote worker's laptop has the capacity and the need for VPN transfer low enough, you could do away with the drive and just store the OTP on the internal drive.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Really?

Local customs.

There was an incident years ago where one of the many churches in the US hired a European construction company for their new building - Swedish, I think? In accordance with their ancient custom, they hoisted a tree to the top of the building upon completion. It's an old ritual for good luck, originating in pagan customs many centuries ago, and continued for the sake of tradition. The church owners were not approved: They refused to pay, claiming the pagan ritual had desecrated the church and made it unfit for purpose.

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Suricou Raven

Some of them might me genuine paranoid patriots, believing that the NSA's spying ability is essential to preserve the safety of their country.

Others might be in it for the money. Well-paid work is hard to find. Do you want to respect freedoms for all people, or do you want to pay the rent? Choose.

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Suricou Raven

Or a simple assumption that if the NSA is resorting to pressuring American manufacturers into the use of backdoors, then it's likely their Chinese counterparts are doing exactly the same.

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BT doles out measly 2GB to customers in Dropbox-alike BT Cloud

Suricou Raven

I don't trust any of them.

I made my own 'cloud storage.' It's actually just a bit of perl script and .htaccess trickery on a VM server I rent for IRC bots, website and minecraft.

It doesn't take much to handle simple file uploading, if you're only doing it for one user and don't need to enforce advertising.

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Australia's anti-smut internet filter blueprint lasts LESS THAN A DAY

Suricou Raven

Re: Parenting? It's not as simple as that.

The age ratings have some flaws. The US-issued ratings are generally very tough on sex, but almost ignore violence. A few bloody impalings, decapitations and bisections will get you up to a 16 - but glimpse a nipple for a moment and it's instant 18.

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Suricou Raven

The NBN is really, really great...

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Brit music body BPI lobbies hard for 'UK file-sharers database'

Suricou Raven

Re: Should music be free?

If libraries were just invented today, publishers would be lobbying for them to be banned immediately.

Industries work to protect their business model. That's just what they do.

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Boffins follow TOR breadcrumbs to identify users

Suricou Raven

Re: The Irony

I'm sure whoever authorised that project got a solid telling-off from the NSA later for making their job harder.

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Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

Suricou Raven

Alternate theory.

It's possible that the Guardian were so useless they had the password written down. But it's stretching things a little - that's incompetence of comic proportions.

I've a theory to offer: The investigators actually got the password through another channel, one of dubious legality. Perhaps they have phone and email monitoring operations on everyone who works for the Guardian (I would be very surprised if they do not) or even bugs in the offices, or maybe someone on the inside leaking details, or perhaps GCHQ were able to use some advanced cryptoanalytics magic to find the key left behind in the swap file. However they got it, they don't want to admit how - so the 'password on a postit' line is just a lie made up to give a plausible explanation for how the investigators got that password, thus protecting the secrecy of whatever cloak-and-dagger operations they have going on. It even has the added bonus of making the Guardian look like a bunch of idiots.

Or the documents found might just be a plant, and he wasn't really carrying anything at all. At this point I think we've demonstrated that both US and UK governments are more than willing to outright lie to the public and frequently violate their own laws - planting evidence isn't that much of a leap. Being able to threaten Miranda with jail time could be a way to apply pressure to Greenwald. He may already have recieved the deniable communication: 'One way or another your boyfriend is going to jail for a few months - but if you publish any more documents, we'll see to it that he is locked up for five years before he so much as sees a trial, and thirty more after that.'

Wild speculation is quite acceptable here because we now know that government *lies* - even more so than was previously thought.

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China confirms plans for first Moon visit later this year

Suricou Raven

Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

Not as easy as you think. Getting the rocks up even that little well would still need launchers and fuel, which means local manufacturing ability, which means extensive facilities for mining and processing material and fabricating parts. That or a magnetic launcher, but that requires lots of bulky materials be sent up first.

An established, self-sustaining moon base would be able to do it - but building that may just be the single most expensive project ever undertaken by mankind.

China might try it though. Just because it would give them something their government craves: Respectability. Just look at how much money they threw at their olympics hosting.

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'Kim Jong-un executes nork-baring ex and pals for love polygon skin flick'

Suricou Raven

Re: Propaganda

Because we can classify NK as 'harmless to outsiders.' They can oppress their own people all they want, but they aren't a threat to us.

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Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

Suricou Raven

Re: Power Cuts

Lay a trail of glue, then sprinkle salt over it. Snails won't cross it. Obviously no good in areas exposed to water or weather, but a handy way to keep them from crawling into the water-butt hole or up the air vents.

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3D printed guns are for wimps. Meet NASA's 3D printed ROCKET ENGINE

Suricou Raven

Re: If they can make components in space

Actually, there is a good use for 3D printing in long-term manned flight - such as Mars missions. In-space manufacture of spare parts. Without 3D printing, you'd need to take several spares for every vital component that could fail during the journey. With 3D printing, you can ditch all the spares for solid-plastic parts (Lots of life support things - impellers, seals, valves, plungers, pipes) and just take a 3D printer and a supply of feed plastic. Potentially that can mean space and weight savings.

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Russian spyboss brands Tor a crook's paradise, demands a total ban

Suricou Raven

In soviet russia,

Insert reversal jokes beneath this post, please. Let's keep them all tidily in one place.

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Germany warns: You just CAN'T TRUST some Windows 8 PCs

Suricou Raven

Re: Which PC's don't have TPM

The TPM itsself can't do very much without cooperation from the OS - all it can do is make sure BIOS updates are signed and enforce Secure Boot - a feature which, for now, Microsoft still generously permits you to disable. So if you run linux, it won't bother you. On the upside, the TPM does include a cryptographic accelerator and RNG (True R, not PR) - so if you get the linux drivers working, it could be used to give an SSL webserver or something a performance boost.

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Acorn’s would-be ZX Spectrum killer, the Electron, is 30

Suricou Raven

Re: The electron taught me a real lesson

That is what the spell chequere is for.

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Zuckerberg: I want the WHOLE WORLD in my hands

Suricou Raven

I'm doing my part.

I'm promoting retroshare to everyone I know. I've gotten quite a few friends using it now. It's not a social network, though it can manage basic forums and messaging. It's more of an IM program. Decentralised. Encrypted. Authenticated via first exchanging keys with contacts. Probably not NSA-proof, but at least NSA-resistant enough to make cracking it take real effort, and plenty enough to stop intrusive advertising companies trying to intercept your messages and profile you.

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APNIC boffins may enlist TCP to defend DNS

Suricou Raven

Latency.

UDP:

[Client]: Give me an A-record for theregister.co.uk

[Server] 95.52.96.89

Time taken: 1x RT

Packets: 2

TCP:

[Client] Give me an A-record for theregister.co.uk

[Server] No can do. TCP only.

[client] SYN! Request conversation!

[server] Acknowledge. Fire away!

[Client]: Conversation ok. Give me an A-record for theregister.co.uk

[server]: 95.52.96.89. I'm done talking.

[Client] Me too. Over and out.

Time taken: 3x RT (not including final packet).

Packets: 7

At an RT of 300ms (Hardly unusual), that's more than half a second extra delay. Now multiply that by all the domains holding different scripts, static image servers, ads and such on a typical webpage...

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UK mulls ban on tiny mobiles to block prison smugglers

Suricou Raven

Re: "electrically unsafe ... they could cause fires and injure ... through electrocution."

They don't have the power to ban tiny phones. That would require an act of Parliament. But there are certain legal tricks that can be used to achieve an 'indirect' ban. In this case, by noticing that these tiny phones are often in violation of trademark laws or don't have all the legal boxes ticked on their electrical safety checks - so a ban is simply a matter of strictly enforcing existing laws in an area which would otherwise be considered too trivial to bother with.

Another example could be seen in the national porn filtering scheme. Forcing the ISPs legally to block pornography would, again, require an act of Parliament - that'd be a long, awkward process, but it could be done. A simpler way is to just threaten them with it: Cameron just stated that he doesn't *want* to go through the legislative hassle, but he will if the ISPs don't do as he asks voluntarily. As they would rather have a filtering system they can run themselves than have to deal with likely arbitrary and confusing guidelines from an act, it's in their best interests to give in.

This type of political sneaking is much more common in the US due to their split-layer government. The US congress, state congress, local officials and the courts are often pushing contradictory agendas and constantly trying to find ways to outmaneuver each other.

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Microsoft announces execution date for failed QR code-killer

Suricou Raven

Re: Use of QR Codes

I've seen them used to store wifi credentials - just the ESSID/PSK pair, stored in QR code form and supplied on a card with an ISP configured ADSL router.

My android phone was able to recognise and use the information without issue. Faster than typing in the key.

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Suricou Raven

Re: nfc?

Connection = tracking = analytics = advertising.

You didn't expect MS to run the servers out of pure altruism, did you?

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Intel to put pedal to metal in 14nm Atom upgrade

Suricou Raven

Re: Naturally, it will come with a new socket

Atom chips don't use sockets.

They are soldered directly to the mainboard.

Atoms are primarily used in portables and embedded devices - ease of upgrade isn't such an issue there..

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Microsoft DMCA takedown requests targeting OpenOffice

Suricou Raven

Re: Could it be ....

Or it could be that they just set their anti-piracy bot for 'torrent AND *office*' - no way to say clearly if this was malicious, or simply incompetence and arrogance.

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Brits: We can stop trolling if we know where they live - poll

Suricou Raven

Re: The Great British Public

That would be the Dunning–Kruger effect.

People's self-impression of competence in a field and their actual competence are not well correlated. Those who possess some knowledge, but not much, tend to vastly overestimate their true ability. With further education they will be able to look back on their earlier selves and see just how arrogantly overconfident they were.

But that only works if they get that further education. The typical self-confident internet commenter, believing themselves to be a perfect expert on social media policy, has no reason to study psychiatry or sociology or political theory. So they continue to babble their half-coherent ramblings, unable to understand why others laugh at them.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

Because being sociable includes complaining about the family member who can barely find the on-button and screams 'The Internet is broken!' every time a page takes more than five seconds to load.

And such complaints depend upon the family member not finding them.

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Your encrypted files are 'exponentially easier' to crack, warn MIT boffins

Suricou Raven

Re: Compression

Correct. This is why gpg and any serious encryption software includes a compression stage before the encryption - though it's not a very good one, it doesn't have to be.

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Seagate: Storage industry ill-prepared for onrushing big data tsunami

Suricou Raven

How much of this data is actually used?

I have a folder containing the family photos. Several gigabytes. No-one is ever, ever going to look at this. The family have no reason to look back at what we were up to on the holiday in Skegness of 1998. Yet the data still remains because.... well, it's policy to retain the family photos indefinitely.

I imagine much the same goes on at the corporate level. Gigantic mountains of useless data kept either for reasons of regulatory compliance or because storage is cheap, and it just might come in handy some day in future.

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