* Posts by Suricou Raven

1549 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

National Security Letters ruled unconstitutional

Suricou Raven

Re: NSL's Hells's Bells?

Depends upon the district. Many police departments regard speed traps as a handy money-maker, and so position them in areas where people are likely to speed but pose no risk of an accident, such as at the bottom of a straight hill - drivers pick up a little speed on the way down, enough to go over the limit. The same thing happened for a time with speed cameras here in the UK, until public outrage pushed the practice out of favor.

Rise Of The Machines: What will become of box-watchers, delivery drivers?

Suricou Raven

Re: They can't retrain as storage technology engineers.

Like what? Once the drivers, cleaners, assembly-line operators, street sweepers, fast-food servers, lower-cost restraunt chefs and shelf-stackers are all out of work, there may just not be enough skilled work to go around even if you could somehow come up with enough money to pay for a few years of training for all.

Suricou Raven

Re: Just the tip of the iceberg

Text or phone you. Give warnings at half-hour/20min/20min/5min/arrived. Come the arrival time you just go out to the truck, enter your security code or insert bank card to verify identity, and the robotics inside will move your parcel to the collection window. Once the parcel is removed the truck resumes, towards the next customer.

Ten pi-fect projects for your new Raspberry Pi

Suricou Raven

Re: My project...

Switch to a one-wire bus with the DS18S20 temperature sensors and you'll be able to hook a lot of sensors up to it - I used to have them all over the top floor of my house, poking through holes in the ceiling with the bus in the loft. That way your thermostat can more inteligently decide when the heat is needed, and analysing the sensor logs will tell you which rooms are losing the most heat to the outside world.

Suricou Raven

Cloud storage.

Having a handy webserver you can upload files to from a browser and download from again is a good idea. I set one up myself. Not using a Pi - it runs on my home server/router. Just apache, some .htaccess files and one rather small perl script. You really need very little to make it work.

'Quantum fridge' gets close to absolute zero

Suricou Raven

Re: printer ports?

I doubt there is a standard interface for a one-of-a-kind experimental quantum cooling device operating on a principle never before demonstrated. So they probably used whatever was lying around the laboratory parts bin.

Boffins implant almost-cellphone in the BRAIN

Suricou Raven

That thing is huge.

Please, go easy on your EBEs.

Plastic Logic shows off bendy 'leccy posters: Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Suricou Raven

Re: How much?

Billboards. You know the annoying type: Giant video screens, or elaborate mechanisms that allow one poster to roll up for another to replace it. Tech like this could do the same but potentially cheaper, lighter and more reliable.

Sparkfun takes roadtrip across US in campervan full of electronics

Suricou Raven

Re: While electronics is great fun

The two skills go together. You want to make a robotic tank equipped with an arsenal of nerf darts and beanbag launchers to do battle with friends? Then you'll need code. But you'll also need a solid understanding of voltage regulation and power management so the big motors don't ruin the supply for your delicate Arduino board, enough knowledge of fundamentals to spec a motor controller that'll drive them, and the means to make drivers that'll let an arduino output drive the solonoid hooked up to the pneumatic cannon. Code will only let you get half-way there and, while you can get a lot of the parts as pre-made module, good luck finding a set of pre-made Angry Robot Eyes LED displays to mount on the front.

Tito's Mars mission to use HUMAN WASTE as radiation shield

Suricou Raven

Re: Just a thought

While water would certainly be helpful in shielding, it may be more helpful inside the astronauts. This is a mass-constrained design: Getting anything out of the earth's well costs a lot of money. That's the appeal of using feces as shielding: It's already available during the mission, unavoidably, so by putting it to some practical use you can reduce the amount of shielding you need to launch. Same for the idea of using a final booster stage for directional shielding: It's effectively free mass, once it's done it's main job.

Suricou Raven

Re: One way trip

I never said I was refering to this mission. I was just throwing out ideas for hypothetical future missions.

Suricou Raven

Re: One way trip

There's no chance of a martian superbug (though it's plausible that some earth-sourced extremophile might be at home there). A one-way manned landing is still a good idea, though. The astronauts would spend the rest of their (probably short) lives there, but they could get a lot of science done. Far more than any robotic probe we can make right now, and it's a good first step towards a sustainable colony too. The only problem is that the public would be appalled at the idea, for some strange moral reason. Eventually China will do it.

Four firms pitch hi-def DRM for Flash cards

Suricou Raven

Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

I can't say anything about TDK specifically, but there do exist DVDs which use weird layouts - the movie stored in a non-linear order within those VOBs, and dependent upon transitions and scripting to make it play in the expected order. Either as a deliberate anti-ripping measure, or as an accidential effect of an unusual special feature. The Matrix DVD was well-known for the latter. They are still rippable, but take a bit more work to manually figure out what goes where - a task that itsself requires watching the movie, several times, out of sequence. It's a great annoyance for those who rip their own DVDs, but doesn't do more to the internet pirates than delay the torrent release by a couple of hours.

Suricou Raven


Content Protection for Removeable Media. A very, very similar scheme. It's present in all Secure Digital cards: That's what the 'secure' part indicates. It just isn't used by anyone. Ever. An abandoned DRM scheme. The demand wasn't there, as commercial sales of content on SD card never took off, and hardware players all went with competing methods based on tying files in some manner to devices rather than media. There was no interest in media-tying, because the only advantage that could give would be in allowing users to re-sell their purchased media second-hand. A feature content suppliers actively opposed.

If you remember a big panic a few years back about DRM being built into hard drives, CPRM was the technology being panicked over.

Suricou Raven


This all seems very familiar.

Wikileaker Bradley Manning pleads not guilty to 'aiding the enemy'

Suricou Raven

Military justice.

Secret hearings, secret evidence, secret everything, no jury, just three judges who know they aren't going anywhere in their own careers if they don't find as the higher ranks decree. Why are we even bothering with this charade? Might as well just throw him into solitary confinement for the rest of his life right now and save the world the drama. No-one is buying this trial as anything but a rather ineffective attempt to claim fairness. The outcome is as good as fixed already.

They are barely even pretending this is a trial: Ruling in advance that he can only have one witness and that his most effective defenses are off-limits? It's a kangaroo court.

I suspect the officers in charge are torn between wanting to get this over with and wanting to put on a big show of how effectively any future 'traitors' will be destroyed for putting their own conscience over the reputation of the country.

Own a drone: Fine. But fly a drone with a cam: Year in the clink

Suricou Raven

Re: Tricky one

That would be 'The Light of Other Days.' Good book.

Do not confuse with the short story by the same title. They are nothing alike. Just a coincidence in naming.

Suricou Raven

Re: a pole?

Don't forget the traditional method: Binoculars or telescope.

Boffins FREEZE PHONES to crack Android on-device crypto

Suricou Raven

Re: Very interesting but somewhat redundant?

They'll lock the phone completely for some time after a number of failed attempts. Trying it via the usual entry means would work, eventually, but take a lot of time. You'd need to make something like a little robot that could operate the touchscreen.

Suricou Raven

Re: Are you for real?

Does anyone *want* a BB jailbreak?

Suricou Raven

Re: capacitor-based overwrite

That would complicate the process, but there would be other ways to ensure abrubt powerdown and reset. Open case and short pins, perhaps. Or magnetic pulse - I've done that to a mobile before while using it to film a can-crusher I built.

Any storm in a port

Suricou Raven

Re: I'm sure I can beat 37 out of 37

It's a quantum thing. USB ports have 1/2 spin.

Arista wants to DANZ for high freaky traders

Suricou Raven

Not there, James

Network taps. Latency isn't such a huge issue on the taps themselves: The every-microsecond-counts trades don't go through them in order to execute the trades. This stuff is used to analyse the trades after the event in order to better understand the nature of the traffic and thus how to fine-tune the rest of the network to shave off another infinitesimal slice of latency.

Forget wireless power for phones - Korea's doing it for buses

Suricou Raven

Re: AC @ 10:05 -Wet blanket time

I like China's solution more. Pantographs at bus stops only. Busses have ultracaps. They'll only go for a few minutes on a charge, but that's enough to get from one stop to the next - and they charge so fast, they can get back up to full capacity in the time the bus is parked there.

British, Belgian boffins battle buffering bandwidth bogeyman

Suricou Raven

Re: Not: Bufferbloat, but regulatory bloat

Not so practical on the internet though. For one thing, everyone would decide that their packets are by far the most important.

Samsung laptops can be NUKED by ANY OS – even Windows: new claim

Suricou Raven

Re: Recovery...

People still flatten clothes with 'irons' long after they ceased to be made of iron.

The term 'BIOS setup' will outlast the BIOS itsself.

Linux Foundation ships UEFI Secure Boot workaround

Suricou Raven

Re: Designed for Windows? ..

"Do you think the UEFI issues are part of some machiavellian strategy out of Redmond ?"

Actually, yes. This is Microsoft we are talking about. Considering the company history of lock-in and dubious business practices, would you put it past them?

Illicit phone rings in Sri Lankan inmate's back crack

Suricou Raven

Bit dim.

Did he forget to turn it off first?

I'm surprised it could get signal. Watery flesh usually blocks those wavelengths fairly well.

11-YEAR-OLD code wizard hacks Greedy RuneScape geeks

Suricou Raven

He'd better go into hideing then.

Before some government tries to prosecute him as a cyber-terrorist.

Seagate squeezes out 4TB desktop monster

Suricou Raven

Re: But at what price

Makes some sense as a power-and-cost saving trick. The reason for SATA (and IDE before that) drives in USB enclosures has always been to take advantage of the economy of scale that comes from the big production lines. But with the increasing sales volume, it might make sense now for drive manufacturers to run a second line for USB-interfaced boards. They can keep the same mechanical side, after all: Same mechanics, different board attached.

Microsoft 'touches 16k shop workers' to flog Windows 8 hard

Suricou Raven

Technology change?

What change would this be? The only major changes in laptop technology over the last year has been the introduction of touchscreens on a lot more models, and that is something Microsoft themselves demanded.

Study: Gay marriage support linked to pr0n consumption

Suricou Raven

Not the most reputable.

A little googling shows Paul j Wright is a nobody - I can't find any other paper he has written at all, or even any mention of him. Ashley k Randall has done a little more, but only got her PHD in 2012. It looks to me like two newcomers to the field confronted with the great problem of graduate researchers trying to establish themselves by studying something a little controversial.

First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

Suricou Raven

Re: I'm not so worried

Can't be measured yet. It's only a limit of technology - there's nothing magical going on.

Samsung mocks Apple lawsuit in SuperBowl teaser ad

Suricou Raven

Superbowl fans are busy right now.

There's a minor scandal going on in the world of handegg. The Raven's linebacker Ray Lewis has been publicly accused by Sports Illustrated of taking performance-enhancing drugs, after he was caught trying to find a source for growth hormone. He then proceeded to dig the hole a little deeper by claiming that no less than Satan himself, old red-and-horny, was personally responsible for this slander upon his reputation. The accusations leveled no less than a week before he is due to receive a 'Lifetime of Inspiration' award from a prominant Christian sporting body.

It's all of dubious foundation right now - speculation based on what may be just circumstantial evidence. Only time will see if the accusations are indeed true or not, but it's already got the fans of the sport divided.

Linux boot doesn't smash Samsung laptops any more

Suricou Raven

Re: Sorry, wrong.

Samsung (Or whoever makes the firmware for them) wrote an off-spec implementation and probably tested it only using Windows. Determining that it booted Windows fine, they apparently decided that it was done.

We've been here before. Exactly the same issue was had years back with the early days of ACPI: Many mainboards used not-fully-compliant implementations that worked for Windows, and didn't bother to test for any other OS. It's the unending curse of linux. Outside of the server space, it is such a niche OS still that there is little to no incentive for manufacturers to even test if their hardware works, much less go to the expense of releasing drivers.

Meet قلب, the programming language that uses Arabic script

Suricou Raven

Re: Translate?

Good for the languages own keywords. Not good for the many libraries that use english-language function names. A problem that قلب also fails to solve.

Does embedding a right-to-left language word in a left-to-right language sentence like that cause arabic speakers annoyance?

Suricou Raven

I went the other way. I learned to program first on an old DOS machine running quickbasic that I got second-hand, and picked up American spelling from there. My english teacher constantly marked my spelling as incorrect, resulting in a battle of wills that lasted for years: I refused to change my spellings, arguing that spelling is a consensus and the US, with it's much greater population, was now the greater authority on english spelling.

ITU signs off on H.265 video standard

Suricou Raven

Silly resolution.

Human perception just isn't that good under normal viewing conditions. Are these technologies marketed to eagles?

Suricou Raven

Re: Damn!

A pi can transcode, but the quality of the transcode - how good it looks at a given bitrate - depends largely on how much processing power you can throw at it. A pi has only a little. If you do the 'up to eleven' quality settings, not even a quad-core i7 processing 480p will do it in real time. Your pi could take months go work through one DVD.

Pope: Catholics, go forth and multiply... your Twitter followers

Suricou Raven

Re: Romans 16:17-18

Not always. Sometimes the language used appears to be an idiom specific to the time, and thus meaningless to an outsider, and there are a few words which are simply lost because they survive in no other texts and their meaning has been long forgotten by speakers of the language.

Suricou Raven

Re: They'd be better off...

I'd expect the richest hunting ground to be the lapsed Christians - perhaps the majority of the UK, people who profess Christianity but more out of tradition then real belief. They just need a good kick to realise they are not practicing their claimed religion.

Backdoor root login found in Barracuda gear - and Barracuda is OK with this

Suricou Raven

Why is there even a password?

Public key auth, Barracuda. USE IT! If you must have remote access - and they sell managed solutions, so the need is understandable - you don't use passwords. You use public key. You then have exactly one online computer that holds the private key (Plus offline backup for disaster recovery) and make it act as an authenticating SSH proxy, like a MITM attacker would. That's the way to do it right.

Suricou Raven

Re: SSH scans?

Move SSH off of port 22. That way the people running scans won't find it. Any determined attacker focusing on you specifically is going to scan the whole range, but at least opportunistic script kiddies won't waste your bandwidth and clutter your logs.

Next-gen H.265 video baked into Broadcom's monster TV brain

Suricou Raven

Re: Very bad demo

The hardest thing to handle is actually overlayed independant motion. It really messes up the motion estimation algorithm. There's only one place you encounter video like that naturally, though: Moving water. If you want to see a codec screaming in pain, film some rough water.

Raytheon to build low-orbit, disposable satellites for DARPA

Suricou Raven

Re: I'm thinking

When a sat burns up, there is nothing left. Except the biggest ones - the gyro wheels are durable things, but if there is any risk of debris making it to ground level intact the operators would just aim for ocean.

Suricou Raven

Re: "ALASA" is FALCON reborn?

Understandable, right now, given how good a job the the private sector has done these last few years.

Beware the coming of the ROGUE CLOUDS, wails Symantec

Suricou Raven

Re: Solution: Block dropbox at the proxy.

It helps when your business is a school. If you want to get five minutes of productivity out of the students in a day, the first thing you need to do is make sure all the game sites they know are blocked. The second is to get the teachers paying attention for the ones who bring in games on their USB stick.

Suricou Raven

Solution: Block dropbox at the proxy.

Works for us. We block all means of transfering data that don't leave an accounting trail, except for USB keys. We can't disable those, as the IT office door is partly glass and would not withstand the onslaught of an angry mob.

Doesn't affect me though. I need no dropbox: I wrote my own quick-and-dirty filelocker software. It runs on a webserver VM I rent for other purposes. Just a little perl, but it gives me a web interface for submitting a file, and returns a link to where the file ends up. Minimal, but functional.

Fans of dead data 'liberator' Swartz press Obama to sack prosecutor

Suricou Raven

Re: what I find bizzare

This is a case where the conspiracy theorists have a good case. He was a first-time offender, but he had a political history likely to have upset those in power. One of his former stunts was to obtain a great number of court records, something officially available to the public anyway but in practice requiring a convoluted procedure for anyone other than a well-paid lawyer to get to in a reasonable time. It it quite plausible he was already known to the prosecution as a troublemaker with anti-government tendencies and a history of activism, and thus someone to go after with a bit more force than the average unremarkable first-time offender.

Suricou Raven

Re: Copyright law needs fixing

True, but wrong law. While JSTOR *could* have sued him and his family unto poverty unto the seventh generation, they chose not to take this route. It was the government that decided to go after him, using a law criminalising computer fraud and hacking. No copyright law required.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019