* Posts by richardcox13

203 posts • joined 19 May 2012

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Colliders, containers, dark matter: The CERN atom smasher's careful cloud revolution

richardcox13

Re: Code optimisation looks to be key here

> Coders typically assume that more hardware is the best fix for badly optimised code

We generally don't, But often – especially given other demands for resources – it is the least cost inefficient.

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Who really gives a toss if it's agile or not?

richardcox13

Re: 'Agile' means nothing at this point. Unless it means terrible software.

> At this point, courtesy of Exxxxtr3333me Programming and its spawn, 'agile' just means 'we don't want to do any design, we don't want to do any documentation, and we don't want to do any acceptance testing because all that stuff is annoying

All too commonly it is simply because people (especially anyone with "manager" or "director" in their job title) doesn't bother to understand what agile is, or explain it to the customer. This includes explaining that constantly changing requirements and/or priorities will mean lots of work being abandoned and the time (and money) wasted.

The Agile Manifesto is a good start, with string emphasis on the last paragraph:

> That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

So

> Working software over comprehensive documentation

Does NOT mean "no documentation"!

But that would require spending time learning...

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Payday lender Wonga admits to data breach

richardcox13

Re: Utter scum

Inclusive or is inclusive.

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Steppe thugs pacified by the love of stone age women

richardcox13

> The Rape of the Sabine Women?

Not what you think it means.

Go back far enough and "rape" covered "kidnap with intent to marry". And that in a culture where breaking through the defences of another village to claim a wife was part of becoming an adult. This helped to ensure genetic mixing at a time when the vast majority of the population otherwise wouldn't travel more than a few miles from their birthplace.

History is complicated, cultural standards are of their time, etc.

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Drive-by Wi-Fi i-Thing attack, oh my!

richardcox13

Re: "An attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip"

> Surely this can only bork the radio, right?

It would seem likely that the Wi-Fi chip can read and write to arbitrary memory locations (avoiding needing the CPU to move bytes around when receiving data).

So it would be possible to bypass any virtual memory or OS process protection...

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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

richardcox13

No.

But I've been at a lock-in and the Loch Inn.

(Many years ago...)

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Web-app devs note: Google wants to banish JavaScript dialogues

richardcox13

Re: Arrogant

Exactly. They're doing exactly what everyone complained about Microsoft doing.

The alternatives are not equivalent and bring their own problems (one being cross browser compatibility).

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Large Hadron Collider turns up five new particles

richardcox13

Re: Inverse femtobarn

> one femtobarn is a gigashed?

Nope, one shed is one yoctobarn or 10e-24 barns. So a femotobarn (10e-12b) would be a terashed (e10+12sh).

One thinks one would need a decent sized garden to hold a tera-shed, but then the units being used here are actually the inverses.

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Azure storage browns out for eight hours, nobody notices

richardcox13

> the cattle are stateless and everything is resilient

Storage is, of course, the one thing that can't be stateless.

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Microsoft wants you to plan a new generation of legacy systems

richardcox13

Re: MS wants us to pay them gobs of money...

> Hey MS, you can blow me!

How your client's must benefit from your professionalism, but you would rather hide...

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Frustrated by reboot-happy Windows 10? Creators Update hopes to take away the pain

richardcox13

Re: Fake Linux

> I dunno, what's a real Linux, really?

Oh no, not another another distribution!

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Tuesday's AWS S3-izure exposes Amazon-sized internet bottleneck

richardcox13

> Amazon should shut down datacenters on a rotational basis every day of the week until

> the duplication message has been well massaged in.

Which would also penalise those use cases where a few hours of downtime is not a problem. Not everything needs 24x7 uptime, there are plenty of cases where a 6 hour outage us not a problem but 24hours would be.

No cloud providers say you get DR without some work at the client end; equally non-critical use cases shouldn't be blocked.

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NASA extends trial of steerable robo-stunt kite parachute

richardcox13

Trees

> steerable aerofoil parachute to bring the payloads back to earth

Presumably with some sort of anti-AI to avoid the tendency to head towards the densest woodland within range. One assumes this is an evasion tactic.

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GitLab invokes the startup defence to explain data loss woes

richardcox13

Re: Of course they were open about it...

> Then, once you are happy that everything is working, you can go over to the 'only alert on failure' model.

I would suggest not even then.

If the regular "it worked" emails are too much, then put in a filter on the email client, so you still have the history. But one email every few hours is not much to deal with, and makes it clear that there are no reported issues.

My own personal systems generate three emails a day. It takes seconds to deal with them, and I know things have not failed. The habit is now strong enough that there non-presence triggers action.

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Blighty watchdog Ofcom has a butcher's hook, clocks spectrum for 5G

richardcox13
FAIL

Re: Brexit Imperial Wavelength of 16.89inches

> 16,89 inches

I think you mean 16.89: no foreign decimal points here!

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Android's February fix-fest flings 58 patches

richardcox13

Re: What about Pixel owners?

> My Pixel C tablet updated to Android 7.1.2 this week. I'd assume that the security patches were part of that.

Maybe, but check the date of the "Android security patch level". Is "5 February 2017" here.

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richardcox13

Re: Nexus 6P owner

> Nexus 5X

Mine updated this morning...

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Is it the beginning of the end for Visual Basic? Microsoft to focus on 'core scenarios'

richardcox13

> VBA which is presumably sharing a lot of that code

The VB.NET compiler is written in VB.NET, the .NET framework is C#. So, no common code.

There may have been initially. However .NET has been through multiple major versions over more than a decade so unlikely to be anything left now.

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Google mistakes the entire NHS for massive cyber-attacking botnet

richardcox13

Re: As a former NHS minion…

> as a Bing engineer it must be soul destroying to constantly see your competition as the most searched for term on your own engine. :)

Reputedly the most searched for term on Google is "Google", so perhaps not.

5
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McDonald's forget hash, browns off security experts

richardcox13
Coat

> the food is second rate

They have food? That's an improvement over my last, long ago, visit.

Of course others may define "food" more broadly than I do.

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Wi-Fi for audiophiles: Alliance preps TimeSync certification program

richardcox13

Re: Amazed that this stuff is so difficult

> In the old days of film, the sound was carried on a strip down the side of the film. Nothing to get out of sync.

Of yes it could.

There was a specific distance between the frame being projected and where the audio pickup is. If there is a little too much film (threaded through too loosely even by one sprocket hole) then the sound would be out of sync.

There is too much going on – stopping each frame while the shutter is open 24 times a second – around the optical part of the projector to also be picking up the audio track (whether optical or magnetic).

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https on thereg

richardcox13
Thumb Up

Re: Link to Forum on Articles

> that will get changed to be hardcoded to https ~next wee

And I see that it has!

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richardcox13

Link to Forum on Articles

That comments link at the bottom of links is hardcoded to http. So if reading an article on https, in going to the forums you lose TLS.

Simplest fix is to make it a protocol relative link – //forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/… – so it inherits the protocol of the article page.

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Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

richardcox13
FAIL

Andrew Orlowski ... BBC

Given Andrew's established position on the BBC, as much as Tim Harford's position maybe questionable (and, given his position as an economist, more about pointing out that "obvious truths" often are not), I suspect that no party in this is being objective.

Perhaps if this was written by someone without such an established anti-BBC history had written it one might give it more credence.

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Splunk: Why we dumped Perforce for Atlassian's Bitbucket of Gits

richardcox13

Re: Of course it's not just Perforce

> TFS, but corporate have already decided to stick with the old Sourcesafe back-end

TFS's non-git backend bares as much relationship to SourceSafe as CVS does.

None of the limitations apply, none of the ongoing issues apply (no need for a weekly analyse to fix corruption, etc).

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Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'

richardcox13

Not just US

> have been banned from US flights

Based on the number of signs at checkin at Heathrow yesterday.

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Shhhhh! If you're quiet, Linus Torvalds might release a new Linux

richardcox13

Re: This is a genuine question to all software devlopers...

> One thing I've never understood is why software is released with known bugs

In addition to the already noted: changes (including bug fixes) often introduce new bugs, there is also the problem that many bugs are benign – no one is affected – and the change adds risk (the new bug could be far worse).

There is also the case where an issue is found late. Should the release be delayed for that fix? (Especially true of test releases.)

Contemporary software systems are very complex. Even a small system will have tens of thousands of interacting parts. Mostly these do not interact (much effort is put into avoiding interactions) but sometimes they need to, and sometimes they do unexpectedly. Any change can potentially trigger an unwanted interaction.

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Reg man 0: Japanese electronic toilet 1

richardcox13

Re: you could just leave the damn buttons alone.

“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.”

― Terry Pratchett

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UK spying law delayed while Lords demand Leveson amendments

richardcox13

Re: Private Eye

Indeed, but like much of the press (including in this article) The Press are being disingenuous.

The press get to pay all costs even if they win if they refuse to go via arbitration. But, and this is the balance, the complainant gets to pay all costs if they refuse to go via arbitration.

The reality is that much of the press read a few headlines (not the actual proposed rules) and then spout off. This is driven by a few "leading" editors who want a toothless "regulator" so they can continue to write whatever they like knowing the vast majority cannot risk launching a libel complaint.

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Dark matter? More like diet matter: Super-light axions may solve universe's mass riddle

richardcox13

Re: stupid question

> The laws of physics work both forward and backward in time.

Except the Second Law of Thermondynamics.

Which gives time only one direction.

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Ghost of DEC Alpha is why Windows is rubbish at file compression

richardcox13

Re: Obvious bull

> Right. Because you couldn't have possibly included (de)compression

This is covered, but it is assumed know compressed files are updatable (this is another restriuction of on the compression algorithm: you need to be able to change parts of the file without re-writing and compressing the whole thing).

So one scenario is file is created on a x86 box and then updated on an Alpha box, So the Alpha system has to be able to compress in the same way, while still meeting to meet the performance criteria.

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Boffins predict web scams with domain registration data

richardcox13

Stats Error!

> […]and they claim a false positive rate of just 0.35 per cent.

> (Since they write that 80,000 domains are registered each day, that's still around 250 sites a day unfairly tagged as evil, so PREDATOR still needs some refinement on that score).

The false positive rate is the proportion of sites tagged as fraudulent that shouldn't be. Not the proportion of all registrations. So it will be fewer than 250 falsely tagged sites. The paper does not seem (on a quick scan through) to suggest what proportion of registrations are fraudulent, but that 0.35% should be applied to that number not the total number of registrations.

2
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Microsoft: Watch out millennials for evil Security Essentials

richardcox13

Re: "disabling the ctrl+alt+delete task manager"

> I thought the Kernel was supposed to trap the Three Finger Salute - how can it be disabled by this application?

In the days of PS/2 (and before that PC, PC-AT) keyboard connectors the Ctrl-Alt-Del combination was handled in the BIOS. And the kernel always got control.

This is not true of USB connected keyboards.

In practice if someone has physical access they can always take control (given a little time), so having a special key combination provides no useful protection.

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DARPA unveils robot co-pilot

richardcox13

Re: Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun to Be With!

But unfortunately. the human pilots information only contains the out of tune text "go stick your head up a pig".

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You work so hard on coding improvements... and it's all undone by a buggy component

richardcox13

Re: Levels of blame...

> Imagine if, when OpenSSL was flawed, or MD5 was cracked, we could

> just mark it as obsolete, mark an upgrade path, and EVERY piece of software

> that dealt with them worlwide was updated to use a replacement library or

> object class as soon as it was next executed?

And watch as some minor behavioural "fix" in the new version (on some other part of its functionality) causes many of those applications to break.

Behavioural dependencies can be very subtle, no amount of unit/integration testing will cover them all (100% is not enough, people will depend on officially "undefined" results).

Real world backwards compatibility can include leaving in some bugs…

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Big Mickey Dell is wrong: Cloud ain't going to eat all of IT

richardcox13

Re: Hardware versus Data

> Would you care to have that stock under your own control, in your own warehouse, or would you prefer to rent space from a warehouse space provider?

Neither. I would prefer the supplier keeps it in their ownership until I call for it (and take ownership) when I have an immediate use for it (this can lead, because I've already got an order for it, to me effectively having ownership for a negative amount of time).

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richardcox13

Re: cars and phones terrible analogies

> IaaS is a load of shit

Often yes. The costs of buying VMs in the cloud is.

But not always.

For example your steady state is a couple of decent servers and a moderate database: using IAAS will cost more than putting your own servers into a DC. However if you need to scale that to eight servers and a big database (black Friday, sales, run up to Christmas, and similar periods) then suddenly the numbers change.

If your peak load is not much more (within a factor of two say) then having fixed resources makes sense. But if you sometimes need far more for short periods then outright purchasing makes less sense even if the "normal" periods are more expensive. Not paying for those extra six servers 80% of the time is enough of a saving to more than cover the cost of IAAS rates for that 80% of the time.

And that's before considering there are significant savings on IAAS when you purchase your base capability on an annual basis rather than daily.

For a non-trivial business the sums may be very different depending on which LoB application you're talking about.

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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

richardcox13

Re: brewed coffee from the command line

> The world's first 'webcam' was rigged up at MIT to see the level of coffee in a filter machine.

You linked to the page which in the *first sentance* says Cambridge University. Which is named for Cambridge England.

A certain location in New England is also named for the city, and there is apparently also a seat of learning there. But the coffee pot and webcam existed in the original.

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French programmers haul Apple into court over developer rules

richardcox13

Re: Why use a web browser for an app?

Building a complete custom app for iOS is even more expensive than adapting a working web site for the form factor (and browser limitations).

Separately: is Safari becoming the new IE6: everyone has to support it, but it costs more to support than all the others combined?

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Windows 10 market share fell in September

richardcox13

Re: ... we know mass enterprise adoption is still to come - ?

> I am a Windows sceptic, of course, […] given the awfulness of Win10

You start by assuming it is bad. And then it is: what a surprise.

Please do not pretend to perform any analysis where you've already determined the conclusion. (I'll withdraw that if you confirm you're a management consultant when, of course, your job is to confirm said management's choice.)

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richardcox13

Re: Margin of Error

> Indeed, why El Reg persists in conducting monthly "analysis" of the noise contained in someone's over-precise Excel spreadsheet cells is a mystery.

Exactly.

From the article:

> down just .01 per cent from its August share

I would be surprised if the underlying data could justify +/-1 percentage point margins; I expect it is closer to double that.

Any smaller change is statistically meaningless.

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Oracle's Coach Larry needs Microsoft plays to beat Amazon

richardcox13

Re: Oh Larry, did you learn NOTHING from War Games...

> Why pick a fight if you think you'll lose?

Remember "Unbreakable Linux"?

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M.2 SSD drive format is under-rated. So why no enterprise arrays?

richardcox13

Re: Failure?

That seems over complex (and would require massively more PCIe channels) when SSD drives already handle parts of the flash failing (and are thus over provisioned with flash on creation).

Just treat a chip level failure as part of the same process. If a sufficiently large proportion of the flash is out of action then it is time for drive level replacement.

Much like the process HDDs go through to remap bad sectors until there are no more spare sectors left on the drive.

1
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Crusty Cat 5e/6 cables just magically sped up to 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps

richardcox13

Re: More speed!

As I discovered recently local file storage, and not particularly quick local file storage (destination was a 5400 RPM disk) can quite happily saturate 1Gbps Ethernet.

On folders of moderately sized files (~10MB) transfer was hitting the network buffers moving at a net rate at about 950Mbps.

(Of course when the copy hit folders of small files, sub 4kb, the net transfer rate tanked :-(.)

6
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Eric Raymond revisits his biggest mistake, updates 'Pilot' language after 20 years

richardcox13

> Barcelona

Barcelona's Cathedral was completed centuries ago.

Do you mean Sagrada Família? But that's not (nor going to be) a cathedral.

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Scale-out sister? Unreliable disks are better for your storage

richardcox13

Re: Multiple actuators

I doubt it will happen. SSDs are so much quicker for random ops already that the necessary investment for spinning rust, their microcontrollers and firmware would never pay off.

Cheaper to invest in (near) real time replication from SSD array (satisfying the applications IO needs) to a high reliability array (batched writes and otherwise focus on lifetime).

2
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Samsung intros super-speedy consumer SSDs, 'fastest M.2s ever'

richardcox13

Re: Has to be said:

> Those are blazing fast .......

ISWYDT

That said, having a 961 (the, currently available OEM version), the term "ludicrous speed" starts to make sense (for example on startup the BIOS part is unnoticeably longer than OS boot time).

3
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Are you sure you want to outsource IT? Yes/No. Check this box to accept Ts&Cs

richardcox13

Re: Cyber Essentials Plus

> since most cloud providers do not seem to be certified to anything;

But not all. Eg. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/Compliance/default.aspx

Includes one for UK.GOV (towards the bottom).

[This is no way a suggestion that Azure is "secure" (whatever that means), just that there is at least one provider that is getting certified.]

1
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BT's Wi-Fi Extender works great – at extending your password to hackers

richardcox13

Re: Why didn't they spend some time testing the product before releasing it?

> test it properly first

Please define "properly" for this purpose.Without that definition you fall into the trap of trying to prove a negative.

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Come in HTTP, your time is up: Google Chrome to shame leaky non-HTTPS sites from January

richardcox13

Re: Dumb idea IMO..

> Unless you're trying to support IE on Windows XP, you'll rarely find a case

Make that pre-SP2 Windows XP. SNI client support was added in SP2.

If your client's are using Windows XP without SP2, then they have bigger problems than a few security warnings. But as Chrome now requires at least Windows 7, they won't get the warnings anyway.

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