* Posts by Suricou Raven

1538 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

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.

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.

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.

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.

APNIC boffins may enlist TCP to defend DNS

Suricou Raven



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


Time taken: 1x RT

Packets: 2


[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]: 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...

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.

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.

Suricou Raven

Re: nfc?

Connection = tracking = analytics = advertising.

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

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..

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

New York State to investigate 'Wild West' Bitcoin industry

Suricou Raven

Virtual currency?

Modern banking is so many levels of abstraction removed from any physical value store, it's even more virtual than bitcoin.

It's now or never for old sysadmins to learn new tricks

Suricou Raven

Re: What he said

"can then go into teaching"

Be warned - teachers are severely overworked. Not only can you expect to work the normal eight hour day, but another few hours a day on top of that at some, plus a sizeable chunk of your weekends, just to keep up with the work piled on you.

Suricou Raven

Re: Retire

More accurately put, automation means that a system admin can administer a much larger, more complicate network with many more servers.

The company still needs an admin.

But they no longer need *two* admins. Someone is now surplus to requirements.

Obama proposes four-point plan to investigate US data spooks

Suricou Raven

True, but there are all manner of dirty tricks they can use to get the jury to convict.

'Look, give us Snowden' - this Friday's top US-Russia talks revealed

Suricou Raven

Re: Syria's nuclear programme?

Actually, yes. It's not very far along. If someone high-up in the US decides war is in order, I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about it.

Manning's max sentence cut, may only spend up to 90 years in the cooler

Suricou Raven

Re: Once Apon a Time........

Radio 4 already did a radio play about it.

It is a very depressing play. The main theme seems to be the utter lack of hope. There is no prospect of escape, or a legal out-manouvering. The only times any other characters speak are to state that they are under orders not to converse with the prisoner. Towards the end he manages to give a short monologue to the officer in charge explaining his actions, and for a moment you think he might have won some leniency - but the officer is one of those uber-patriot types, and gets so offended that the moral character of his country has been insulted that he declares Manning a suicide risk and orders that his glasses and clothing be confiscated for his own protection.

Suricou Raven

Re: 136 years to 90 years...

In some ways this is actually one of their fairer trials, as there is so much publicity around it. The prosecution hasn't had to resort to some standard-issue dirty tricks often used on lesser criminals. There are a few common ones I know of:

- The overworked public defender: He has half an hour to devote to your case, and he knows that his job depends upon you agreeing to the plea bargin - if he actually gets too many people off, he'll be fired on a pretext for embarassing the department and someone of more flexible morals will take his place.

- Freezing of assets so the defendant can't afford a lawyer. Sure, they may have the money to buy one - but with all their bank accounts frozen, there is no way to pay, and lawyers generally don't work for credit.

- Seizing of all assets that could possibly be related to a crime. Usually applies to either electronic devices of vehicles. Added bonus: Can sell at police auction. That's one reason police in the US love drug prosecutions: If the convicted used a car to drive to a dealing location, then the car has been used in commission of a crime. That means police auction, and money for the department.

The only dirty trick they are using from the civilian world is the pileing-of-the-charges, trying to intimidate the accused with the possibility of severe punishment. In the civilian world it's used to apply pressure for the accused to plead guilty - that's the approach used on Swartz, which instead drove him to suicide. In this case it's being used to make an example - to show any other potential leakers that the government is willing and able to throw the book at them, and they'll be lucky to ever see daylight again.

There's a fair bit of evidence-hiding going on as well - there are claims made by thr prosecution that the leaks have lead to the deaths of some US agents, but as this is all strictly classified stuff they aren't able to say who or how. The judge just has to take their word that the leaks resulted in friendly deaths - and this is a military trial, so the word of the intelligence services is beyond contest.

KingSpec's 2TB Multicore PCI-E SSD whopper vs the rest

Suricou Raven


There is something fiddley to be aware of.

If cardlanes == slotlanes, they fit together easily.

If cardlanes < slotlanes, the card fits in and works, though the slot will have a few lanes wasted.

if cardlanes > slotlands, then *electronically* they work - though the card won't run at full speed. Mechanically, it won't actually fit into the slot. Not until you do some delicate work with a dremel. Once the appropriate (literal) hacking has been done, then you can use it.

Child porn hidden in legit hacked websites: 100s redirected to sick images

Suricou Raven

Re: no legal porn

That'd be the Venus of Willendorf. It's not limbless but it is so unrealistically proportioned the arms are just stumps.

Suricou Raven

Re: I don't get this

The only reason I can imagine would be a hoax. Something the denizens of 4chan might think funny.

Suricou Raven

Re: Gosh could someone have been hoarding a stack of nasty CP and a zero day exploit

They already did - on her website.

Suricou Raven

The IWF is not the most reliable source.

They have something of a history of whipping up hysteria. I imagine this happened once or maybe twice, but the IWF is trying to make it seem like some sort of epidemic of child abuse images.

Anonymous Coward: There was a study a while ago that found the most dangerous sites on the internet, malware-wise, were church websites. Even more than porn or piracy. Simply because few churches pay a professional administrator, they just have a volunteer muddle their way through.

Suricou Raven

Re: So strictly speaking...

"Credit travels upwards, blame travels downwards. That's the way it works."

Barbie paints Red Planet pink with NASA-approved Mars Explorer doll

Suricou Raven

Re: Her suit is actually just as accurate...

Mars's pressure is under a kilopascal. Even breathing pure oxygen, you wouldn't get enough partial pressure to stay alive, much less do any science. So a pressure suit is essential.

It doesn't have to be as thick and durable as a spacesuit though. Less radiation, for a start. One idea is a stretchy-suit, using elastic to remain form-fitting while keeping an internal pressure just high enough to be workable on pure oxygen. That approach would give much more flexibility than the clunky, stiff spacesuit design.

Barbie isn't wearing that though, as her suit is noticeably loose and doesn't seal at hands and feet. The only way barbie might be able to function on that suit would be if some major oxygen-consuming organ was removed to lessen the load...

Suricou Raven

Re: LoL

The US wouldn't do that - there isn't much political gain to be had in sending people to die. Lots of good science to do, but no votes.

China would do it though.

Suricou Raven


Humans do not explode in space. NASA tested it with animal models, and there's been one case of accidental depressurisation of a human. He survived. The loss of pressure results in very rapid unconsciousness, but no pop.

True explosive decompression has occured, but not in space. One-to-zero atmosphere just isn't enough. The only incident in which that has happened an accident with a pressurised divers' chamber on the Byford Dolphin drilling rig. That was a drop from nine atmospheres to one.

It was messy.

One diver's lungs exploded with so much force, the *blew his spine out of his body*. Chunks of ex-human were found ten meters away - upwards. That's one impressive way to die.

Upgraded 3D printed rifle shoots 14 times before breaking

Suricou Raven

'Smoking guns' is just an expression that outlasted its origin. They used to smoke.

Suricou Raven

Re: Wow Amazing - NOT

Yep. As guns go, it sucks.

But it sucks less than the last one. There is progress. A few more years of refineing both the gun design and the printing tech, and they may well be producing something competitive with conventionally manufactured guns.

Suricou Raven

Re: inevitable

Because there is a strong distrust of government in parts of the US, bordering on paranoia. A lot of people worried that the government is going to come to take their guns away Any Day Now. 3D printing is their promise that even if that happens, they can always get a new one.

Tor servers vanish as FBI swoops on kiddie-smut suspect

Suricou Raven

Re: @theodore - oh boy

Left hand: We need to do something to aid political expression in certain repressive regimes, and prevent those governments snooping on dissidents, as social change in those countries is essential for continued peaceful coexistence.

Right hand: We need to set up improved monitoring and tracing systems systems for the internet - it'll be impossible to enforce the law effectively online if anyone can disappear into electronic mist at will, not to mention the potential for money laundering.

I don't think they were communicating at the time.

Big blue Avatar movie spawns THREE SEQUELS

Suricou Raven

Re: It's all about the money, money, money etc

Clearly piracy is destroying the movie industry.

Suricou Raven

Re: Only one hope

You can say many things about Avatar, but 'desaturated' is not one of them. It is the hawaiian shirt of movies.

Suricou Raven

Re: Cost Savings

The second will be cheaper, because it's a CG-heavy movie. A great deal of the data is reuseable - character models, rigging, etc. Remember these aren't your little FPS game models we are dealing with - they use muscle modeling to make sure they move realistically, crazy-high resolution, and surface models that include the effects of pores and sub-surface anatomy. Each one represents weeks of work.

Suricou Raven

Re: Personally I'd like a pre-quel

Here's my idea:

That Unobtainium is good stuff. You think Earth is just going to leave alone? No, they are sending back a new ship, and this time going prepared. Not only does it have a real military force, but after the events of the first movie they know not to discount that 'spiritual' rubbish - there is proof that the planet has an interconnected neural network spanning species, and human technology is rather good at interfacing to neural networks now. After all, they can sync brains between a human and an avatar body.

Sully has been living the life of a native for the last ten years, and now fits in as one of their own - his off-world origins almost forgotten. He is happy in this life, but for one flaw: Children. His body is still half-human, and infertile, a condition that adversely affects his relationship with whats-her-name from the first movie - family lines are very important to na'vi, and is inability to sire a future priestess is an insult to the community.

One day Sully jacks into a tree, an is passed a vision by that transcended scientist woman, taken from the memories of a Na'vi from the area: The sky is falling. Great birds, trailing fire, dropped from the clouds. To the distant tribe this is a worrying and incomprehensable event - but Sully recognises the description of a spacecraft in reentry and landing. He knows that the tribe there knows almost nothing of humans - he is the sole Na'vi expert on them. So he and whats-her-name travel to this costal region to learn what is going on, and to defend Pandora if they must.

On arrival they find that the humans have been more sensible this time. Aided by mapping data from the previous operation they have set up in a less tropical region, where the local wildlife is a little less dangerous. Further, they are mining offshore - a costal base serves as a dock, while giant dredgers scoop unobtainium from a seabed deposit. This is promissing: They won't need to expel anyone from their land. What's-her-name expresses hope that maybe coexistence is possible - but Sully is suspicious, and concerned that the deposit will eventually be depleted. Further, there are already signs of water pollution from the toxic refining process. Sully tells whats-her-name the basic base layout.

Further strange activity is noticed too. The animal life is acting strangely. The locals report that the trees are giving them strange visions. Sully investigates this by jacking in himself, and sees strangely familiar things: Human writing, pictures and symbols. Things that have no place on Pandora. Still spying on the Humans, Sully, What's-her-name and one of the locals are caught and taken into the human base. Sully plays dumb, pretending to be a technologically ignorant native so he can try to observe inside - he sees scientific equipment through the windows, computer banks, screens displaying MRI data and networks and a bank of avatar interface tanks on his way to a holding cell before someone notices his extra fingers. This confuses the humans - they see an avatar body, recognise Sully, but say they have none themselves and ask where his tank is. Sully confesses that he no longer needs his human body, but this sounds impossible - he is dismissed as crazy.

Sully escapes - not using his knowledge, for Avatar isn't that type of franchise, but because the three of them are able to cooperate to break out. As they flee, Sully witnesses something even stranger: A dredger dumps its load into a floating barge, before a whale-analog swims up to the surface and starts pushing it towards the human base. This triggers a crisis of faith for the Na'vi: If the animals are aiding humans, that means Enwya is on their side. How could the Na'vi be abandoned by their goddess?

Whats-her-name cannot accept this, and nor can Sully: He has seen what humans do to a world. In a search for answers he attempts to make contact again with dead scientist - but this time when he jacks in, he is bombarded with noise and scattered imagery. Pictures of earth, chemstry, space travel, and through it all the sense of others - sensing him, reacting, chasing him down. Dead Scientist struggles through this chaos, but can only guide him to a key image stronger than the rest: A map.

Sully, whats-her-name and a few escorts are guided to the ocean and swim down where the map says. There they find roots - a tree of souls, made of coral and concealed below the water. The locals say they knew of this place, but it is a most holy site and approached only on the rarest occasions. The humans have found it already: Technology covers the natural formation, with cables running undersea towards the human base. Now he understands.

Humans learned to control an avatar body. Now they no longer need one. They can be the animals. They can be the planet itsself. This time Enwya isn't going to come to their aid - she is too overwhelmed by the humans now hooked up.

Before the team can consider disconnecting the device, an ambush of very hostile wildlife arrives to claw and catch them. The local human defenders. The team escapes, barely - but as they look back they see the place heavily guarded by pandoran crabs.

Now things escalate. The local tribe are first disbelieving, then outraged at this sacrilidge. A war is declared - but Sully knows they cannot win this time. They defeated a mining operation before, but barely, and only with aid they won't have a second time. Now they are up against a full military force. Worse - flying drones are broadcasting a message: Hand over the human and avatar, or face destruction. No more nice hippy humans now: They are in a state of war.

Whats-her-name asks to trust in Enywa. Sully realises this could work - and Dead Scientist tells them how. Enywa is overwhelmed with alien thoughts - mining plans, ore transport routes, the idle background of the operators as they think of home. But that could go both ways. As war is launched (The locals riding into battle on giant mantas), a daring operation is carried out to capture one of the crabs and link Sully to it before the operator can disconnect. Contact established, Sully is able to use their own tech against them - disrupting the control system long enough for a whale to bite through the undersea cables. Even then the battle goes badly, with human weaponry slicing the incoming Na'vi before they can get close - but whats-her-name sees an opening. Flying overhead on her lizardbirdthing she dive-bombs, making an abrupt landing inside the base in the area Sully earlier told her was the environmental room. She doesn't know tech, but she can break things - pulling pipes, smashing controls, stabbing her spear through panels and tearing tanks apart. With the base now flooded with Pandoran air, the humans have no option but to set the auto-destruct and run to their shuttles.

Say is saved, humans defeated, Sully and whats-her-name once again hailed as heroes. Oh, yeah - they find an orphaned na'vi to raise too. Everyone is happy.

Cameron: If you use that, I'll settle for even a tiny 0.1% royalty - that's still a lot of money to me. And I want that gross, not net - I'm not stupid.

Suricou Raven

Re: Truly there is no God

I don't understand why any studio would make even the first film. Did they even read the rest of the trilogy? If you tried to film and release those in the US, even toned down, you'd have a mob with torches and pitchforks turn up at the studio.

They were able to almost entirely remove the religious parts from the first story. It left a few problems, like villains that lacked any apparent motivation for their evil deeds, but overall didn't make the plot impossible to follow. That might be possible for most of book two. But by three? The religious aspect *is* the plot. Take it out, and you've nothing left.

Tick-tock, Apple: Obama has just days to stop US iPhone iPad sales ban

Suricou Raven

Re: Wouldn't it be better

Or conclude that Apple is an important US company, Samsung is an important South Korean company, and that the best interests of the country he is supposed to be leading would be best advanced by tilting the scales of justice a little.

As president, his first loyalty is *supposed* to be to the US. Intervening would just be doing his job. Sure, it could be seen as an underhanded subversion of the legal process... but that's basically how the legal process works anyway.

USB accelerates to 10 Gbps

Suricou Raven

Re: Potential

Even ethernet has too much latency for some applications. If you want low-latency, you use infiniband. Costs a fortune though. It's used for cluster interconnects, and I read that some high-speed trading operations are asking for infiniband connections now because 10gig ethernet just has too much latency for them.

Suricou Raven

There's no reason for ARM to adopt even USB3 support. Their processors would struggle to keep up - they aren't made for speed. They are made to be compact, require minimal supporting components, and achieve a very impressive level of energy efficiency.

Wikileaker Bradley Manning's court martial verdict expected today

Suricou Raven

Re: This is about a Soldier under an Oath of Fealty...How bout equal Justice!

The oath doesn't consider what happens when a soldier concludes (justifiably or otherwise) that the US government is not an enemy of the constitution. That's what happened here.

I'm predicting he won't get a 'life' sentence, but will get a fixed-term sentence considerably longer than any human can reasonably expect to live. Probably something like twenty charges, ten years a charge, served consecutively. And he'll be classified a security risk, so he'll spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement. There will be a brief period of outrage, but as time goes on the public and the media will eventually forget about him.

Bank of Thailand bans Bitcoin

Suricou Raven

The sort of miss the point.

Bitcoin is very hard to regulate. That's the whole point - the currency was designed by libertarian ideologists who dislike all regulation. It runs on maths.

You could catch a few people using bitcoins too openly. But that's all. You can't search for them at the border, there are no companies to subject to regulations.

Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Suricou Raven

Re: Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

But there are ways to dodge this too. A CEO might be paid only a token salary, but also enjoy a few extra benefits - a company home (small mansion), a company car (lamborgini), a company jet for those vital business conferences with other managers in Hawaii, company health insurance plan, etc. Plenty of ways to enjoy the wealth without actually legally owning it.

It's the same trick used by many televangalists in the US - they have as much of their property as possible owned by their church (ie, tax-exempt organisation) and just rent their mansion for a $1/yr peppercorn.

A drone that can walk home

Suricou Raven

Re: One has to ask, but why?........

Seeking cover.

1. Fly onto roof.

2. Crawl into place behind chimney/statue/air-con out of sight.

3. Poke camera around concealment.

Flying takes a lot of power. A drone capable of landing and moving to a hiding place nearby could operate for days on battery power, even weeks with a few solar panels and a power-savings mode. Just the thing for a stake-out, monitoring the comings and goings of people at a building. Someone can always collect it for reuse later on.

Apple's shock treatment: An authentic charger-spotting guide

Suricou Raven

Re: Test your RCD monthly!

This is China. The RCD is probably fake too.

Suricou Raven

Re: Spotting a clone

First, because Apple. It's a status symbol, to a large extent. If you've gotten yourself one of the most expensive phones on the market, you want to flaunt it - not buy a cheap-looking charger.

Secondly, USB charging isn't quite that simple. It is on the iPhone - that's a basic USB power thing. Give it five volts and it'll be happy to draw the 500ma USB permits. The iPad, however, demands a bit more power than that - which means it can't just run off of any charger or USB port, it has to be a device that supports both the high-current mode and the negotiation to tell the iPad it is safe to draw that much. This is why the iPad won't charge normally from the USB ports of most non-Apple devices* or USB power adapters not specifically designed for such devices.

The situation isn't any different on Android tablets. It's a basic law of USB: If you draw more than 500mA without checking the device is ready, you'll either crash the USB controller or trip the polyfuse.

*I understand it will charge but only when in sleep state - there isn't enough power available to run the pad and charge the batteries at once.

'First' 3D-printed rifle's barrel splits after single shot

Suricou Raven

Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

I can envision some governments banning the sale of pipes of internal diameter suitable for holding a bullet without too much leakage.

I can also envision gun-printers producing plastic pipes of just the right external diameter to fit inside, and just the right internal for a bullet. Then the strong metal outside prevents explosion. That should work, so long as you don't fire too quickly and melt the plastic part of the barrel.

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