* Posts by Adam 1

2280 posts • joined 7 May 2012

A developer always pays their technical debts – oh, every penny... but never a groat more

Adam 1
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Re: if it works

He called it a measure, not a silver bullet to fix all debt. And on that basis I think his point is strong. Quite strong.

The sorts of organisations* that don't value unit testing** are highly correlated with the organisations that are too focused on the here and now to allocate time to resolving this technical debt.

It's understandable at one level because resolving technical debt is expensive. The only thing more expensive is to not resolve it and then attempt a fix/improvement. But don't expect the business to recognise that the week spent on fixing some deficiency here has saved them two weeks on other projects over the following 6 months.

*I speak of organisations because individual developers within those organisations may well be pushing the proverbial uphill trying to get the business onboard, but if they can't be convinced of the benefits of unit testing then they are likely to see any attempt at technical debt reduction as developers taking liberties with valuable company time.

** By value, I don't mean platitudes about their merits. I mean actually invest time into doing it, as well as investing in some sort of ci that runs them on every commit, as well as actually being prepared to rewrite code so badly coupled that unit testing is nigh impossible, as well as actually using the facts about whether an individual developer is consistently decreasing coverage as a KPI at their performance reviews.

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Watchdog growls at Tesla for spilling death crash details: 'Autopilot on, hands off wheel'

Adam 1
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Re: Don't be naive

@wally, I agree with 90% of your post, it's just the other 90% where we differ ;p

> Seriously, whoever is responsible for ensuring that a car hitting that barrier at the legal speed should not result in a death

Newton has a thing or two to say about such a possibility. Kinetic energy follows a square relationship to velocity.

ie. K = 0.5 * m * v2

What that means in practice is that a car doing 120km/hr must shed 4 times the energy it would have at 60 (or 16 times the energy of a 30km/hr crash).

At highway speeds, the barrier's main goal is to control the direction of the collision so you are less likely to be torpedoed into another vehicle (especially head on). With that much energy to absorb head on, the shear force of your brain mass hitting your skull is likely to be fatal, even if the barrier, crumple zones, air bags, pretensions, etc all perform perfectly. For perspective, EuroNCAP frontal test is at 64hm/hr. Take a look at one of the better performers in that test, then try and picture it without 4x the crash energy.

But I totally agree that replacing safety barriers after a collision must be a priority. I also share a big concern over why the sensors failed to detect the obstacle even if it got confused over the lane markings, or if it did see the obstacle, why it didn't appear to attempt to avoid it.

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Adam 1
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Re: Walter had complained to his Tesla dealer...

What are you stating, the obvious?

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Microsoft Australia flicks switch on Protected Azure-for-Gov service

Adam 1
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I guess it's

> They're only about a dozen kilometres apart, but on different floodplains and nicely close for networking and failover purposes.

lucky that Canberra isn't vulnerable to any other types of disaster.

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Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

Adam 1
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careful

This site has quite a proven track record of predicting the future.

A year ago, coincidentally to the day, there was an innovative suggestion about JavaScript crypto miners being delivered by a website rather than ads to annoy people. Now we have coinhive to deal with.

My best wishes to the successful applicant. May this be a memorable day for you.

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World celebrates, cyber-snoops cry as TLS 1.3 internet crypto approved

Adam 1
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The client then says which encryption system it plans to use for the weaker, session key – which allows data to be sent much faster because it doesn't have to be processed as much

That's a bit misleading. The session key allows data to be sent faster because it uses a symmetric cipher. That is AES these days, and this is computationally as simple as bit shifting and XORing.

Asymmetric encryption is usually done with an elliptic curve* variant of the Diffie Hellman algorithm. In ballpark terms, that costs about 5000x more CPU time for the same payload. The real question is why not just use symmetric encryption? Spoiler alert, symmetric encryption requires both parties to know the shared secret (session key). How are two parties to communicate this without "Eve" learning it too? By using the asymmetric encryption to send the session key, you, in general, get the throughput close to symmetric alone but without the problems around how to share that key without another party discovering it.

*There is nothing wrong with Elliptic curves, just don't use the parameters that NISTNSA were pushing.

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Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

Adam 1
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Re: Nothing new here

> That's just a standard REPEAT UNTIL.

No it's not. Was is the past participle. Had i said "providing precondition is met" (ie present participle) then your point would be right.

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Adam 1
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Re: Nothing new here

> Why would porting a language's 100-ish keywords and 300-ish error messages to another language take any longer than a few hours or a few days?

It probably wouldn't, but it is a courageous assumption to think that the only difference between English and other languages is the spelling and pronunciation of words. The inverse of that process is how we end up with DVD player manuals.

In English, the flow

while (condition is true)

{

PerformSomeAction();

}

makes grammatical sense.

Maybe some other language would be more grammatically correct if expressed like

Continue with

{

PerformSomeAction();

} providing precondition was met

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2 + 2 = 4, er, 4.1, no, 4.3... Nvidia's Titan V GPUs spit out 'wrong answers' in scientific simulations

Adam 1
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Re: Shades of the Pentium floating point bug?

I think this is all part of the Intel cross licensing arrangements.

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Windows Server 2019 coming next year and the price is going up

Adam 1
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So? I have no issues with Azure. It seems a reasonable cloud platform, but it's hardly the only game in town. Even if it's number two, it's generating more revenue than some countries. Then there's Google/Rackspace/Oracle*/IBM which are still viable alternatives for many customers.

Let me spin this another way for you. Company X gets cross with Microsoft for raising prices and directly cutting into their profit margins. They decide cloud is more economical for some of their workloads. Do they:

(a) blindly run to sign up for Microsoft's cloud offering, or

(b) swear off that vendor to the extent possible.

Again, it is different if some new magical network stack can handle double the TCP connections, but if the feature set is best described as evolutionary, then the pricing better well be too.

*sorry, I'll wash my mouth out with soap.

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Adam 1
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> the price bump was to be expected with the new version of Server, and could be used to nudge more customer toward Azure

Or AWS, Golden Geese and all that.

Price increases are fine if they follow inflation, but otherwise they had better think pretty hard about efficiency dividends. That is to say, if the price increases above inflation then the savings otherwise made because the thing is faster/copes with more concurrency/etc/more automation and management features better make up for it and then some. They would do well to remember that many are dealing with the meltdown/Spectre overheads already so may have needed to provision more servers for their workload and will be even less keen than normal for a price bump.

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Mozilla's opt-out Firefox DNS privacy test sparks, er, privacy outcry

Adam 1
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You are right in the general case*, however being a feature in the nightly builds (ie, your beta testers) there is already self selection going on. In this specific research, the specific addresses that they're searching DNS for would be unimportant. I'm guessing they're interested in performance/network overheads in different environments with different potential fail conditions.

*Food for thought, some countries think that non compulsory voting gives an accurate indication of the wishes of their citizens and even pick their representatives with such self selection errors.

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Uber breaks self-driving car record: First robo-ride to kill a pedestrian

Adam 1
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Re: Pedantic

> Is that necessarily true ? Why do supercars have huge actively cooled carbon fibre discs?

Ah, the thing your are missing is the second corner. Even regular stock brakes can do an emergency stop from any speed your car can travel. The issue is when you want to do the same thing again 30 seconds later at the next corner. And again. And again. You cannot do that with stock brakes

Your braking limit is the maximum deceleration at each tyre before it loses traction. That depends primarily on the road surface and the contact patch of the tyre. That is why wide profile tyres and racing slicks improve stopping times (in the dry). You do also need to take into account that under heavy braking, your car's centre of gravity will move forward (blame Newton), so you have higher traction on the front tyres but lower on the rear. Modern ABS braking systems continuously monitor each wheel speed (plus steering angle) to make sure this each brake is doing the most that it can possibly do beneath this limit to wash off the speed. There is some serious boffinary in these systems.

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Adam 1
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Re: YAAC offered, "UK official stopping distance at 30mph is 23m"

> If with perfect reflexes +perfect brakes I can stop from 30mph in 6 car lengths, then the kid is safe if they step out 6 cars ahead of me but not 4. So speed limit in school zones is 20mph = 4 car lengths. But what if they step out 2 cars ahead of me?

That's not how physics works.

d=(v^2)/(2*μ*g)

v is your velocity

μ is your coefficient of friction

g is 9.8ish here on earth

In your example, the only variable is v. So if it takes 6 car lengths under some condition to stop from 30, then

Assuming a 5m car length and otherwise just doing si unit conversions

μ=(13.4^2)/(2*9.8*(6*5))=0.305

Plugging those back in for the 20mph case

d=(8.9^2)/(2*0.305*9.8) = 13.2m

That's a pinch over 2.5 car lengths. Not 4. So you would still hit, but at a *much* slower speed. Maybe they'd even survive.

But if people undertake an activity that requires them to assess the safe speed for a certain visibility distance, like we driving say, they owe it to society to get a basic understanding about how speed and conditions affect stopping distances.

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FYI: AI tools can unmask anonymous coders from their binary executables

Adam 1
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> the only reason he is employed at all, is that his code is the FASTEST CODE AROUND PERIOD for embedded processors and specialty applications!

Maybe you could forward his CV to Intel. Heard they may be interested in someone who can work the fastest code around period.

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AMD security flaw saga, browsers broken, Lamo dead at 37, and more

Adam 1
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Re: I've been saying....

For anyone responsible for the design of a password handling system, please remember that your users are almost certainly the weakest link in your design. Our brains are not good at random and not good at memorising character sequences with no pattern or overlaying meaning. We (users in general) fail to see how our password choice on catappreciation.com matters. It's not my bank after all. Inevitably, we put a 1 on the end of we're forced to add a number, and change a to @ for the symbol requirements to construct a simple to crack but hard to remember password.

My suggesting to system designers:

1. Get the server side right. Forget build your own hashing with sha-whatever. You need to be looking at bcrypt/scrypt/argon to manage things.

2. Guide your users well. Let them paste passwords so they can use a password manager. Integrate your (re)set password screen to pwndpasswords API (the V2 one) to reject stupid choices (or download the torrent and roll your own private version if you don't trust Troy). There are plenty of public libraries for nuget/mom/pretty much anything you can name already, so you are talking about an hour of effort to really practically boost your users' security.

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Cyborg fined for riding train without valid ticket

Adam 1
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Re: Thanks for the antipodean information...

> You, on the other hand, have never worked on or been close to someone who works on a transport system, or else you would know that the look and feel of an official card is part and parcel of spotting forgeries.

One of us is making some assumptions there. But Let's talk about forgeries for a minute. Do you honestly think that someone is going to go to the effort of getting a fake printed. I mean, wouldn't it be easier to steal a half used box of blank cards from one of those popup kiosk newsagencies and write your fake data to the NFC chip inside it? Then there is no difference that one can garner from typefacing or colour bleeding.

Also, you have an unrealistic understanding about what the transit officers actually do. Four of them board a carriage from both ends, just before the doors close. Two from each side go upstairs. Two go downstairs (stopping someone doing a runner). They then ask to see everyone's card and concession entitlement if it isn't a full fair card. This involves holding a thing that looks like a 6" mobile against everyone's card, getting a bing sound, then giving it back and saying thank you. I have even on one occasion had them validate my card from inside my phone case. They have to get through the 100 people in the carriage between two stops, check concession cards, and usually write up one or two people. They're not sitting there with a black light trying to see if the NFC antenna is in the correct spot or whether it was printed upside down or whether there's an extra petal in the waratah.

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Adam 1
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> The card itself may have contained other security features such as a holosticker or a serial number in human readable form.

It doesn't. It has the word adult, the opal logo and the new government logo on it. On the back is the remember to tap off message, phone numbers, website, the card number and 4 digit security code. Certainly nothing a human can use to spot a forgery.

I would be utterly amazed if security wasn't handled by encrypting the data it holds.

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Adam 1
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doesn't sound like it

> He DID pay the fare and DID have a valid ticket

The card was cancelled so he hadn't tapped on. He was their traveling without a valid ticket. You can argue that they shouldn't have cancelled a card just because some feline nutter wants to cut it up and implant it.

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Intel: Our next chips won't have data leak flaws we told you totally not to worry about

Adam 1
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> Our next chips won't have data leak flaws we told you totally not to worry about

By remarkable coincidence, my next chips will totally not have an Intel logo to worry about either.

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CEO of smartmobe outfit Phantom Secure cuffed after cocaine sting, boast of murder-by-GPS

Adam 1
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> These are not your innocent TOR users mixed in with criminal elements, anyone can use TOR

Aren't they? Some of us have the romantic thought about having the right to the presumption of innocence and letting any facts to the contrary be established in a court of law.

Just because you or I don't think we have any secret worth several K per year, does not mean that others do not have legitimate need for this sort of security. I can well imagine a business in an industry where millions or even billions worth of IP could be the target of theft by companies with not such a long arms length relationship with their ruling party.

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Adam 1
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Re: It's logical, Jim

> That basically means corporations dealing with trade secrets, governments, and criminals

Sorry, I'm not following. Why did you say the same thing three times?

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Transport for New South Wales told to stop tracking oldies, students

Adam 1
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Re: down here in Mexico

Different issue. The same applies in NSW. If you are traveling on a concession fare, you are required to show your proof of entitlement to do so (that'd be your senior/student/whatever) to anyone authorised to validate your ticket (that'd be the inspectors/bus drivers/fare collectors/gate staff). This case doesn't change that, nor was that being challenged.

What was being challenged was the ability for a concession holder to travel on a card that is not linked to their personal identity in some big data hoover.

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Air gapping PCs won't stop data sharing thanks to sneaky speakers

Adam 1
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Re: Alexa

Siri, can my air-gapped PC be compromised by a speaker?

Tomorrow's weather in Turkmenistan is cloudy.

What the, Siri, can my air-gapped PC be compromised by a speaker?

The best drink to accompany a steak is a red wine.

Errrrrr, Siri, CAN my air-gapped PC be compromised by a speaker?

Would you like to hear about my notch?

Screw it.

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Adam 1
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Re: Theory and in practice?

Hz needs an El Reg alternative to avoid all this confusion.

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Developer mistakenly deleted data - so thoroughly nobody could pin it on him!

Adam 1
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Re: Penny pinching...

> Me too, given the company paid nearly a quarter million for those two years of backups

That's a rather strange method of accounting. Is it a waste that I paid about 1.5K to insure my car last year, but I didn't even have an accident?

The cost of your restore* is the time taken by whatever person needed to locate the right tape and find the right file(s) plus the lost opportunity cost of whatever that person+equipment would have otherwise been doing.

*I would argue that the restore was free, the cost was on the unintended deletion or hardware failure.

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Adam 1
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Re: Not me, but someone else previously in my team

Ok. So not you. Nope. Definitely someone else. Got it.

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Facebook Onavo Protect doesn't protect against Facebook

Adam 1
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if

Setup fake hotspot with believable name. Check (although you forgot the de-auth packet flood to disconnect everyone on those other APs).

Poison the responses from DNS. Check

Obtain a SSL certificate for natwest.com

Yeah, no. Obtaining a fake certificate isn't completely impossible because CAs have and probably will in the future make mistakes. Some guy ended up with a github certificate a few months back due to a CA stuff up. But CAs have been distrusted for giving out fakes (Google diginotar). We have also seen the likes of Lenovo and Dell installing themselves as certificate authorities, and I believe in the Dell case this could have been used to sign a fake server.

Far more likely is someone registering natvvest.com and getting a legitimate certificate for that domain. Of course it natwest used* HSTS then the redirect page wouldn't be trusted by your browser. (A 302 is needed because the browser is expecting a certificate owned by natwest.com not natvvest.com. If the original request is http, it can be intercepted and responded to redirect your browser to the new domain)

The actual problem with https is that an observer can correlate who you are talking to and the response size and infer what you are doing. The Facebook image on this article is 13282 bytes. How many other el reg resources are exactly that size?

Tl;dr - https doesn't give you perfect security, but it is inarguably better than http.

*They may well. I didn't check.

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Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer

Adam 1
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Wendal has tried to warn us about our ways

But we don't hear him talk

Is it his fault when we've gone too far?

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Suspected drug dealer who refused to poo for 46 DAYS released... on bail

Adam 1
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Re: Why not X-ray?

(d) Having no* onsite x-ray machine means a shed load of paperwork** if someone needs to be hospitalised.

(e) the whole "not supposed to expose your prisoners to ionising radiation***" thing.

*At least none designed for a human.

**I am pretty confident in this guess.

***although I imagine that at least some of the cell's walls are made of bricks.

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Adam 1
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Re: Coulkd have been worse

Bastards

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Adam 1
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Re: Ah, CRAP!

How's that presumption of innocence thing going there Bob?

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Shock poll finds £999 X too expensive for happy iPhone owners

Adam 1
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Re: It's not just Apple

> There are two paths for smartphone peddlers these days.

@AC, not sure I agree with that dichotomy. I would agree that Apple can't really go #1 without cannibalizing their #2s (what a fortunate pun). We see this in other product categories too, where a carmaker uses different marques to sell something made from the same parts bin at substantially different prices.

But I see it as a scale rather than two camps. You just need profit per unit * units sold > $X

In the #2 world, profit per unit is just absurd. When I last replaced my phone (firmly from one of the vendors of #1s), it wasn't because I wanted the cheapest possible thing. I wanted a Nexus price/feature compromise, not a Pixel price/feature compromise. If the midrange isn't selling it's because they're not wanting to take any bullet points off their flagships feature list, so the midrange then can't pull from the Chinese. You can't ask for another 200 quid if all you get for it is an extra 2MP on the camera.

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Woe Canada: Rather than rise from the ashes, IBM-built C$1bn Phoenix payroll system is going down in flames

Adam 1
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Use of HTTPS among top sites is growing, but weirdly so is deprecated HTTP public key pinning

Adam 1
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Re: The Register and Scott Helme

I think that it should be considered on a case by case basis. There is nothing in this article that the wider security industry would take umbrage with. HTTPS becoming more common. Check. His survey has been running over years and the methods are generally quite sound. May be off by a percentage point or 2 because of limited sampling capabilities with subdomains, but this doesn't impact the trend. Does he have any conflict of interest? Well I guess he will have more business opportunities if he can establish that HTTPS is inevitable, but I can't think of any subject matter expert who wouldn't equally benefit. And no one serious is questioning his expertise in this area.

The uBlock origin thing is one where he does have a direct commercial interest, but I believe this was disclosed. It would have been impossible to cover that story without sourcing his views because he was the one complaining. And for the record, there are legitimate arguments for both positions on the uBlock reporturi thing. There is a potential side channel tracking capability if it is honoured but it can also benefit *other* people by notifying the site owners if someone injects a coinhive JavaScript into your site. You don't personally need it fixed because your browser has already protected you. On balance, I think the tracking protection is a better benefit (and I made this point at the time). But yes, that does impact his commercial reporturi service so that needs to be disclosed.

Ultimately, that is a journalistic integrity decision. I personally find this particular red top acts reasonably responsibly.

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Adam 1
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Re: Stubbornly insistant

Well I guess you could clone all your files. Or you could do what normal people do and bind port 443 to the same folder.

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Adam 1
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A MitM* can easily modify the El Reg homepage to add a coinhive JavaScript or any other tracking token they want. They can manipulate the stories you see, include content not in the original or censor content they don't want you to know. If there is a link to the forums login screen, they can point that to a phishing site.

*And let's be clear here, a WiFi pineapple can be had for a few hundred local currency and about 15 minutes of YouTube instructions will have your MitM up and running. This isn't a TLA level hack.

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Symantec ends cheap Norton offer to NRA members

Adam 1
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> What do a gun manufacturer lobby and internet security have to do with each other?

Ah, so you've never tried to uninstall a Symantec antivirus product.

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Huawei guns for Apple with Mac-alike Matebook X

Adam 1
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Huawei told The Reg this not only allowed it to remove the bezel to go, but should allay users' concerns about being spied on.

Oh great. Now they're filming which keys are being depressed from underneath the keyboard.

/Mine's the one with the tin foil hoodie.

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RIP, Swype: Thanks for all the sor--speec--speedy texting

Adam 1
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just you

I am personally thrilled with precocious Tex. It does exactly what I try to toe. You guys are just total webinars

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Australia joins the 'decrypt it or we'll legislate' club

Adam 1
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Re: Sauce for the goose...

I rather think you're missing the point of my reference to circuit switched networks.

So in Bazzaland, you visit www.google.com and some nice young woman dressed in a 1950s dress and hair grabs an RJ11 to plug you in? You then download the page, then realise that you need some resource from Google's CDN or analytics, so 1950's woman disconnects your www.google.com circuit?

If your answer is circuit switching, you asked the wrong question. You also made the MitM attacks a lot easier. There are a lot of 1950's exchange operators needing to sit in the middle and anyone of them can passively observe or actively change the communication.

Luckily nothing approaching even a 1990s internet would have been possible under circuit switching.

My reference to circuit switched networks is that you know more about how one's traffic gets from A to B and exactly who the intervening switches belong to.

Not true. Unless, you and your server are on networks run by the same operator, that isn't even technically possible, let alone feasible. Your network operator loses any capability of such a promise at their interconnects. You are then relying on another network to finish the circuit. Your network knows that the traffic came on the expected interconnect, but without encryption or at least a digital signature involved, you cannot prove that what you receive is what they sent and vice versa.

Look at https and the system of certificate authorities that "secures" it. It doesn't secure it at all. There's a market for certificates, and some of the vendors aren't particularly choosy who they sell certificates too.

Ironically, you seem to be highly concerned with corrupt or inept CAs granting certificates to third parties, yet entirely trusting of your network operators to do the diligence to connect to the right endpoint. In both cases you rely upon the diligence of a third party to have verified the identity before signing the certificate. If the network operators are so diligent, then let's cut the middleman out here and make the network operators the CAs. No, your argument doesn't hold up, not because CAs are perfect (hi there wosign), but because your suggested alternative has exactly the same problem but additional problems as well.

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Adam 1
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Re: Ah, more magical thinking.

A more cynical commentard may imagine that the government of the day is simply trolling to get the beetroot* tops and twitters to start discussing something else.

*Sorry, I'll grab my coat

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Adam 1
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Re: Sauce for the goose...

> Whilst many see encryption as being a tool with which to defend against baddies, one has to wonder whether we'd be better off without it.

And one doesn't have to wonder too hard to realise that the baddies will continue to use the existing strong encryption to communicate with each other or to lock up your files and demand a ransom. Meanwhile, your defences against this same scum are gone. You first.

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Year-old vuln turns Jenkins servers into Monero mining slaves

Adam 1
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> Here's a salutary reminder why it pays to patch promptly

Shirley, in this context, that should be "pays to not patch promptly".

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*Wakes up in Chrome's post-adblockalyptic landscape* Wow, hardly anything's changed!

Adam 1
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> Adblock Plus developer Eyeo, meanwhile, said ....

Hardly the high watermark of advertising ethics. Pay us or we'll block your ads.

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Adam 1
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Mosquitos. The annoying nuisance at your BBQ dinner, sure. But also the animal responsible for more human deaths than any other in our long history. Relatively simple to deal with compared with other threats (netting, proper drainage, removing standing water, immunisations, and yes, in some circumstances spraying). The biggest problem is public awareness.

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Sorry, Elon, your Tesla roadster won't orbit for billions of years

Adam 1
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> It's certainly not a unit of force.

Someone once told Chuck Norris that he could not be used as a unit of speed. He was henceforth known as smudge.

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Adam 1
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> strength of the Yarakovsky effect is ~ 0.05 AU/Myr

For those of us not familiar with the such domain specific units of measure, what is that in nano-Norris?

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Hate to ruin your day, but... Boffins cook up fresh Meltdown, Spectre CPU design flaw exploits

Adam 1
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I heard that some of the patches were so effective that after applying them there would be no way to run this sort of exploit code.

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Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

Adam 1
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A broken clock shows the correct time twice* a day.

*Unless it happens to be stopped between two regional dependent early morning hours on a particular Spring morning in which case it is only once.

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