* Posts by Nick Kew

1974 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

Get rich with Firefox or *(int *)NULL = 0 trying: Automated bug-bounty hunter build touted

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Firefox caters to users who are after Free.

(@Brian Miller - Whoosh!)

Oz researchers, uni unite against Defence overreach

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Re: What are they saying?

The parallel that sprang to my mind was where the US overreached even further to censor a paper published not by a US university or researcher, but by Adi Shamir (the S in RSA) at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. This was back in about 1985-ish, so the medium of publication was paper. Weizmann and Shamir duly recalled the paper (so much for sovereignty), but by then it was of course "out there" and copies were floating around.

A precedent in futility!

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What are they saying?

The fundamental principle of a university is to share information. Publish it!

If the military fund a university project, then they get to attach strings, that might include restrictions on publishing. University decision: accept strings or walk away. OK so far in principle.

But this story reads as if the military want to extend powers beyond that. Censor work over and above that where strings have been attached and accepted. Stand between universities and that fundamental goal of publication.


Brit tech forges alliance to improve cyber security as MPs moan over 'acute scarcity' of experts

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Easy target

Just a thought ...

Security professionals trained to a formula for a qualification could help present an easy target. Just look at the rules they have to follow to cover their professional arses, and work your attack around them.

After all, security nonsense like the CIS benchmark already presents a sitting duck as it becomes a defending sysop's checklist.

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

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Took a look on the macbook with chrome - which blocks fewer pictures than my usual.

So many pictures. Whole rows of stories with a picture each. What a waste of screen space!

And indeed, whereas narrowing the browser causes the stories to wrap OK, widening it shows those "rows" of stories fall flat on their face.

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Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

The new layout is "row based".

That is BAD. Many of the same faults as 1997-style tables-abuse.

But I hadn't realised that. Indeed, I gave it a quick test by narrowing the browser window, and four boxes per row went down to two nice and smoothly, which looked like evidence of flexible design.

I also took the general untidiness of those boxes (looked a bit like packing to move house) as a good sign that it wasn't the work of some deezyner-wannabe from a marketing department.

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Re: And on a side note

Can I give Whitter an extra million upvotes?

I didn't know the Reg had sound, but I have seen animations, which caused me to blanket-adblock Reg ads (which also catches story images). If the animations disappeared, I'd unblock the ads.

Occasionally I try to look at the Reg on mobile, where I'm less in control. But then I see an animation, and back out of the site.

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Re: Prefer the current design

@Brian 18 - white is something you can do something about for yourself:

- force something different in your own settings

- use a display technology whose white is friendlier

Back in the days of CRT monitors, I had a huge problem with white/light backgrounds, perhaps akin to yours. Nowadays I'm generally happy with them, but still sensitive to the quality of a display.

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Thumb Up

Re: How about...

Yes please to a proper revamp of comments.

Better threading: a relatively minor Good.

Notification of replies: yes, has merit. Just don't do anything stupid like email them: a notifications box I can click when on the site will do nicely.

Highlighting of new comments: definitely useful. Could be a "since last visited this discussion" for logged-in users.

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Re: How about...

@-tim - consider running a private usenet server

Nice one: Quod ambulat lectitantur! Once we had the comments of Usenet, then we had the Enclosure of the Commons in privately-owned websites. Would it be a good thing to remind us of the commons we once had?

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Re: How about...

I do try to read the article first, but with articles like yesterdays mostly verbatim drivel from ISPs,

It showed in your comment. The ISPs were in fact talking good sense: they don't want to do the government's dirty work any more that we want them to.

OK, I only skimmed it too.

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First sight: thanks for getting rid of some of the sillier quirks of $old-design. Now looks like a ramshackle set of unordered boxes each with a headline, and adapts reasonably when I try radically changing my browser window. But I fear those boxes are adding clutter: not something you need on a site with enough stories to fill a front page.

My bottom line: the front page is something I rarely visit (easier to use the RSS feed). It's useful if I can find a story or easily scan headlines.

The recent feature that most pissed me off is headlines that repeat on the same page, first in one of the silly sections (favourite/mostread/hot/whatever - I forget the actual classifications), then again somewhere in the general listings.

‘Elders of the Internet’ apologise for social media, recommend Trump filters to fix it

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Re: "USENET was a pretty clear warning."

@Joe Harrison

Private entities controlling public discussion has been the norm through our history. Think Rupert Murdoch or St Paul, to take just two instances from different eras. Genuine commons like Usenet, or like the old Icelandic Thing, are exceptional.

Today's social media are as close to true egalitarianism as history allows. That's why governments around the world - including those that espouse free speech - are desperate for them to be more policed.

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Feeling the heat

Damn, I've never known an April 1st quite this hot!

Gov.UK to make its lovely HTML exportable as parlous PDFs

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Not reinventing the wheel

As many commentards have noted, this is a frequently-solved problem. A decent minority of historic HTML/PDF solutions take the accessibility issues seriously.

I expect what the gov.uk chap means is that they'll take some such thing - probably XML-based - and integrate it into their own publishing.

That is, unless and until such a sensible goal gets lost under a weight of empire-builders and PHBs.

Web regulation could push Silicon Valley startups away from UK, Parliament warned

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Reg commentards, among many others, have been saying that for a long time.

In this article, we have the big ISPs saying it: they don't want to be responsible for doing the government's dirty work, any more than we want them to do it.

Let's see if Their Lordships listen to what's being said, and steer clear of foisting the Lord Chamberlain's old job onto reluctant and unqualified private companies. I suspect we stand a better chance of a sensible outcome there than in our dysfunctional Commons.

'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

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Re: Virgin Media are the worst

They may provide high speeds to some.

They also provide reliability that makes the last few months of Notwork Rail look exemplary by comparison.

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Aluminium? Luxury! We used to dream of this.

Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

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Re: Reverting to type?

Who left a ladder precariously propped by the door (plus emergency buttons)?

No suggestion in the story as to who that was. Hence, no blame to protagonist. At least, no direct blame.

But re-reading, it says he was in charge of disaster recovery. So I guess he really should have had an eye on disaster prevention, and in turn considered Elfin Safety matters before the event. So on reflection I guess he does deserve blame for setting the scene: the original UPS with no-one responsible, and the culture that left a ladder sitting around.

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Re: Reverting to type?

I don't see where fabrication comes into it. True, embellished, or false, the story stands on its own to entertain us and provoke "that reminds me" anecdotes from the readers. And I agree, of course many of the best anecdotes appear in the comments.

That is, however, orthogonal to my point about this "Luke" failing to qualify under Monday's already-loose criteria, by virtue of the story containing no suggestion that he was to blame.

OK, OK, I'll join you in that pint. Raised to the several comments I've upvoted on this page.

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Reverting to type?

Wasn't the monday column advertised as people 'fessing up to their own blunders? Or at the very least, the protagonist should have unwittingly demonstrated a fault, as in "my fat arse triggered stupidly-placed big red switch".

Your Luke doesn't appear to qualify. He was there when something happened is an anecdote, not a confession!

US drug cops snared crooks with pre-cracked BlackBerry mobes – and that's just the start

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Re: Well maybe

Independence of the judiciary is

... a double-edged sword. It keeps the elected politicians in check, but gives enormous power to a judiciary that is not merely unelected but also accountable to noone but itself. Hence why in places where "rule of law" is strong - like Blighty - the Judiciary itself inevitably becomes the heart of corruption (though of course it would be a criminal offence "Contempt of Court" to point at examples).

And that's ultimately worse than other centres of corruption: a corrupt copper or politician can ultimately be held to account (at least in principle) whereas a corrupt judge has Judicial Immunity.

An independent judiciary also works like one of those irregular verbs:

- We have an independent judiciary to hold the politicians to account.

- Iran has an unaccountable leadership that asserts itself over elected politicians.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Don't get caught

Re: So, um, your legal process?

Surely the same as for the (traditional) villians: Don't get caught.

Getting caught is of course a little bit more subtle than just being found out: it is based also on TPTB's desire to prosecute and available evidence. Hence for law enforcement, getting caught might arise from the press kicking up a fuss and necessitating a scapegoat.

Scam alert: No, hackers don't have webcam vids of you enjoying p0rno. Don't give them any $$s

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You got me bang to rights

Yes, I admit, I've been browsing that terrible site El Reg, and even commenting there, and my password (if I could remember it) is probably a bit weak.

Now, if you can remind me of my password to access those bitcoins?

Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested

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Re: Vetting? You gotta be kidding, it is always with a hindsight...

Whoops! This must be one of those Russian trolls the media keep telling us about.

Seriously though, this sounds like another of those stories that should be headlining El Reg's light entertainment columns, rather than tucked away in the comments.

Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

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Reinventing a more limited wheel

I clicked the PEP 572 link. Seems to me that everything claimed for it has been accomplished by the C comma list since before Python was ever indented.

(Never Python's greatest fan - can you tell?)

AI threatens yet more jobs – now, lab rats: Animal testing could be on the way out, thanks to machine learning

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@Adrian 4

When the question is effects on humans, how is testing on lab animals any less useless?

This is an argument that's been going on for years. Bottom line is, animal testing is expensive, and therefore commands high research budgets that sustain shiny careers.

US military manuals hawked on dark web after files left rattling in insecure FTP server

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Re: Of course, that's the stuff they found ...

I expect the source who really cares could apply obfuscation of the kind that accomplishes the much harder task of getting material everyone knows - e.g. episodes of a popular TV series - past Youtube copyright filters.

As for finding the source, they can blame whomsoever is (politically) convenient for any kind of military leak. If anyone asks for evidence, can't tell you because National Security.

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Security by obscurity

Really a story?

... they could provide an adversary the ability to assess technical capabilities and weaknesses in one of the most technologically advanced aircrafts[sic]

East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line

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Re: Hate to say this, but....

You're doing better than me if you could contact Virgin in the first place. And when I tried, I had evidence like speedtest results.

I must've been lucky with BT. When my line died, I got a fix within a few hours.

Could it be because I'm a "boiling frog" customer, and don't trouble a provider just because the speed I'm getting is only 10% of what's advertised, but only when it fails altogether?

UK.gov agrees to narrow 'serious crime' definition for slurping comms data

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Serious Crime

The "upskirting" bill[1], recently in the news, had a two-year maximum sentence. So would appear to be serious crime.

So can we infer this bill is all about permitting investigators to collect and use up-skirt data?

[1] A fair aim, but a bad way to go about it.

Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

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Tosh. You can't've been paying attention 20 years ago when a shiny new trainspotters' or philatelists' .com website was going to make millions.

A curious tale of the priest, the broker, the hacked newswires, and $100m of insider trades

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so we ended up implementing IDEA

You ended up reinventing a wheel? Or you mean you did the sensible thing and used a well-supported crypto library's IDEA implementation?

I see you're trying to leak a file! US military seeks Clippy-like AI to stop future Snowdens

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Re: Two in a box

Pairs can make an effective team. BOFH and PFY.

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Re: So then people rely even more on the system, what if it fails?

The next Snowden may or may not be human.

Former wig-wearing Twitterphobe replaces Hancock as UK.gov's Secretary of Fun

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Re: Rats ahoy, me hearties!

Elements of the BBC seem to be firmly on that hard-brexit bandwagon now.

When the news of Davis resigning came, I naturally thought "He's getting out before the blame gets big". Kind-of like Blair did.

But then he was interviewed on the Today programme, and he convinced me it wasn't just that. He was actually pretty supportive of his leader, just saying he was no longer the man to deliver. On the other hand, the interviewer was trying hard to goad him into a proper Toffoon[1]-style attack on May. Indeed, come to think of it, the Beeb seem to have been trying hard to goad every recent (brexiteer) Tory interviewee into talking about a new leadership challenge: "won't the 52% feel betrayed?"

I predicted two years ago the extremists would hijack the brexit agenda ("The tail that wags a very big dog"). I couldn't have put so many faces to those extremists back then, and it's interesting to reflect how, for example, Boris and Farage seem somewhat to have swapped roles since then.

[1] Boris or Rees-Mogg. The ones who should have stayed firmly within the pages of P G Wodehouse.

Huawei won a contract in Oz. Of course there's a whispering campaign

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Hmm, this reporter evidently isn't in Blighty, where the trains have been kind-of stopped for months now. Is there an evil government (other than our own) we can blame?

Does Oz have a problem with other Chinese suppliers of IT/comms kit? And on a slightly similar note, are they on the anti-Kaspersky bandwagon?

Malware-slinging scum copied D-Link's code-signing certificates to dress up PC nasties

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Re: "copies of code-signing certificates"

That's why we have revocations, and need to check for them before trusting a source!

Tired sysadmin plugged cable into wrong port, unleashed a 'virus'

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Re: Common trick

I find it mildly disturbing how many commentards seem to regard this as normal practice.

Damn, where's the comment icon for "Shocked, I tell you"?

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: See maths.

You're on much the same page as Darwin's contemporaries who "disproved" evolution by cutting off rats' tails and observing that the rats' children - through a number of generations - were still born with tails. It's easy to knock down a strawman.

The problem with the patent system today is in the practice - as a deadly instrument of piracy - not in the original principle of rewarding inventors. AKA, rule by lawyers.

Nick Kew Silver badge

A method of ...

In response to some of the comments here:

A patent isn't for some broad, familiar concept like searching a filesystem. It's for a particular method of search. Thus for example something like a hash or a btree might be the basis for a method. But not an actual hash or btree - as those are of course obvious prior art. The concept of an SQL View wouldn't be patentable, but a method of doing it might be.

I certainly wouldn't want to defend the patent system, particularly as practiced by the US as a weapon of economic imperialism. But better to focus attention on what patents really are, rather than a misunderstanding.

ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

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California Law

Has anyone looked into whether this story (last week) might be relevant? California's own GDPR?

NSO Group bloke charged with $50m theft of government malware

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Should've released it all for the public

Ideally open source where applicable.

Wouldn't have been a big payday, but AIUI Snowden-in-exile has at least a job?

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

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Re: Protected web pages

Many years ago I used to frequent newsgroups on web development subjects. This was a big FAQ: lots of people asking how to protect a page, and many who had trouble with "you can't". Even when viewing source was explained (as in the FAQ).

@Mycho - alternative solution - read the page in question in a text-only browser such as lynx. I do that from force of habit, having started before the days when graphical browsers had the kind of tools you use.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Only cracking I have done is

Many years ago I had a friend at college who, for a kind of party trick, would easily pick the padlocks on student trunks. Took just a few seconds and you'd have to be watching quite closely to see he didn't have a key.

He never abused his ability, but he would pick a lock, then put it through a piece of paper on which he'd written "Get a better lock!".

I don't recollect witnessing it, but I think he also did that to bikes, and was dismissive of big heavy expensive D-locks that were really secure against being broken but could be quietly picked in a few seconds.

Things that make you go hmmm: Do crypto key servers violate GDPR?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: This brings an unsettling proposition to mind.

Interesting line of thought.

Though I don't *think* it leads anywhere quite as interesting as you're hinting at.

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button

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Re: Kim or Ken?

it's just common sense to ask ...

That's the common sense that was applied at Chernobyl.

Gentoo GitHub repo hack made possible by these 3 rookie mistakes

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Saved by github

Well, on that basis, this is entirely Gentoo's screwup and could equally well have happened on their own non-github infrastructure.

More than that, it was github noise - automatically generated email - that alerted folks to the issue. You tell us that, without that noise, it might have remained undiscovered for ... who knows how long? I hope gentoo's non-github infrastructure benefits from the safeguard of a comparable level of noise!


US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

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Re: The Sermon on the Mount

Never mind the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible contains more hatred and hate speech than you've probably encountered anywhere else in life.

Dixit Dominus? This is a God who not merely perpetrates unimaginable horrors, but revels in ever-more-horrific weapons of His genocide.

Elijah? The absolutist Man of God who brings destruction on the godless, brings down the wrath of the powerful on himself, perpetrates massacres and genocide, flees into the mountains, and is eventually elevated to heaven in a euphemistically-violent death. The perfect role model for Bin Laden (or perhaps for what Bin Laden might have been if the 9/11 planes had set off nukes).

St Paul? The classic psychopath who founded a Church in the name of a prophet who had conveniently been dead for a generation.

Samson? The hero who falls from grace but redeems himself in a final glorious act of suicide bombing?

Blessed is he that taketh the Children of the Heathen, and casts them upon the stone.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Book burning Nazis

They're being told to censor by governments, regulators, and pressure groups. Facebook-in-trouble stories usually stem from their failure to censor something - though in the last few months (post Cambridge Analytica) data protection has risen up the Agenda too.

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