* Posts by aberglas

248 posts • joined 22 Apr 2014


Bug-hunter faces jail for vulnerability reports, DuckDuckPwn (almost), family spied on via Nest gizmo, and more


Pretty soon, you won't be able to turn them off

Trying to buy a non-IOT light or lock or air conditioner or water tap will be like trying to buy a vacuum tube / valve today. When the IOT controls everything, turning it off will not be an option. Any more than turning off the smarts on your phone is an option today.

While US fires criminal charges at Huawei, UK tells legislators not to worry, everything's fine


"Civil Society"

Does not mean a middle class.

It means the everyday rights we take for granted. To be able to discuss things freely. To be able to complain vigorously if we disagree with something. To go where we please. To be able to rely on the rule of law, and not the arbitrary dictates of a government.

These are the things China does not have. It is a major concern now that China is the biggest economy in the world (purchasing power parity).

Boffins debunk study claiming certain languages (cough, C, PHP, JS...) lead to more buggy code than others


Re: How many times do I have to say this?

Duff's Device.

Does this also work in Java and C#?


strNcpy is also buggy

It does not add a null to the end if the string is exactly the same size. Which can easily lead to buffer overflows if the user is not careful.

Never had a buffer overflow in Java. Nor .Net....

The most annoying British export since Piers Morgan: 'Drones' halt US airport flights


Re: 500g Drone vs 100 ton airliner




500g Drone vs 100 ton airliner

NOBODY in the mainstream has questioned how a 500g drone could destroy a 100 ton airliner.

Sure, a well aimed 100kg military drone could do serious damage, take out an engine. But that is not what is being talked about here.

It makes as much sense as the idea that a terrorist could blow up an airliner with a box cutter.

Size does matter.

(There was a video of someone firing a largish drone out of a canon directly into a Mooney (very light aircraft) wing and doing damage, but still not destroying the main spar. An airliner weighs roughly 100 times a Mooney. The leading edges are made of thick high grade aluminum. And they can fly well on one engine, and even no engines is unlikely to lead to a hull loss if the pilot is competent.)

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found


Re: machine gun?

No, for such a serious threat as a 500g drone I reckon nuke the whole airport. That'll teach 'em.


Re: How many drones does it take ...?

The big question is, what happens when a 500g drone hits a 100 ton airliner. Answer: nothing at all.

Maybe a 10kg monster drone could do some damage, possibly knock out an engine, but still not sink the plane. A 100kg military "drone" filled with explosives, sure.


It is mind boggling that they would shut an airport on such vague information. Are we really that risk adverse? Planes do fall out of the sky for lots of reasons, maybe we should shut the airport permanently?


How big was the drone?

That is the question. Was it a huge 10kg + that could actually damage an airliner, or a 500g hobby quadcopter.

There probably was some sort of drone somewhere vaguely near the airport.


Incompetance vs Malice

There probably was a drone. A 500g consumer drone flying near the boundary. Which could do no serious harm to an airliner. Might possibly scratch the paint.

That is the big question. How big were these supposed threats? If they were > 10 kg military style things then the threat would be real. And we would see photos.

But I doubt that very much. The media is incapable of understanding numbers. So the 500g drone taking down an airliner makes perfect sense if you do not think about it much and just repeat a hyped up story.

Then the powers that be bloat up the story to increase their own importance. And to introduce draconian regulations that suit their authoritarian views.

Just like the idea that terrorists can make airliners blow up using a pocket knife or some magic liquid. Nonsense that is just never questioned.

Ding dong merrily on high. In Berkeley, the bots are singeing: Self-driving college cooler droid goes up in flames


What happended to Genuine People Personalities?

Siri et. al. are very bland. And not hard to do. This is long overdue, probably blocked by some patent. Long ago there was a program Jive that made boring text hot. Not hard to do.

I want Contrary Siri, that never does what you actually want it to. Wait...

Bordeaux-no! Wine guzzling at UK.gov events rises 20%


33,000 bottles of wine worth 3,000,000 quid?

That is an average of 100 pounds/bottle.

They drink a lot better than I do!

As losses narrow, nbn™ says business will drive growth in ARPU (that'll be how much it extracts from each punter)


Consumers dont need more real bandwidth

It only takes 1.5 megabits to run Netflix (I know, I still have a shitty ADSL line). So 12.5 mbs is huge for most households. Given 25mbs costs the same, people will go for that, but very few are going to pay more.

Backhaul is a different matter, and maybe your 25mbs line only actually gets 5mbs in peak times. But the NBN does not want to admit to this issue, let alone charge for it.

And most (60%?) consumers were perfectly happy with their fast ADSL or cable systems which let them watch Netflix just fine. So it is politically impossible to charge them more for what they already had.

So, it is the tax payer that will be left wit the lemon.

This is where Turnbull lost all his credibility IMHO. He inherited political gold from Labor's NBN, but never capitalized on it when he was minister.

Google vows to take claims of sexual assault, harassment seriously, just like privacy


Google aint Google any more

"all employees will be required to complete sexual harassment training annually. "

Any men working at Google need to be very careful never to offend any women. And most certainly to put on a serious face during the "training".

Remember what happened to Damore. Resistance will not be tolerated.

Amazon's sexist AI recruiter, Nvidia gets busy, Waymo cars rack up 10 million road miles


Re: AI Recruitment

Your dislike of AI driven resume scanning assumes that HR people reading a resume would do a better job. The words are just gobbldy gook to them anwyay.

Similar systems are used to mark English essays. Sure they can be spoofed with bullshit, but normally they do a much better job than expert human markers. Not because the AI is any good, but because the human markers are so bad. Human markers faced with a pile of essays to mark just scan a few lines here and there, while at least the AI scans the whole essay.

Always include the actual job ad at the bottom of any resume. That way you will have all the keywords in the ad.


Add Sex and Race Normalization to the AI

You run your "AI" (which is basically just doing crude statistics). It comes up with some rules. You then normalize those results by Sex. So if it turned out that one gender seemed weaker than the other, you just add a post-AI normalization to bring the numbers in the weaker gender up, and call that the normalized AI, which will never show any bias because it has been normalized.

This is essentially what we do by hand anyway, when there are quotas for one gender, race etc.

30 years ago, NASA put Challenger behind it and sent a Space Shuttle back out into the black


A total failure for cheap launches

Cost per kg launched over the life of the project was huge compared to single use rockets.

Between the shuttle and the ISS the guts has been taken out of the Science program. We could have had the Webb telescope many years ago. And for the true cost of fixing the Hubble they could have launched another.

Madness. But perhaps enlightened madness.

I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one


Block Chain Toothbrush

Now there is an idea. I'm writing up the Patent application now, hope to get VC tomorrow. And not just the brush, the toothpaste as well. Possibilities are endless.

No do-overs! Appeals court won’t hear $8.8bn Oracle v Google rehash


*nix is toast

If APIs are copyright. It all comes from System V. Who owns that now, still AT&T, or maybe SCO will rise again. But a very, very dangerous principal.

Incidentally, Oracle bought Sun for $7.8bn, so got their money back.

Salesforce boss Marc Benioff objects to US immigration policy so much, he makes millions from, er, US immigration


Don't chain H1Bs to employers

That is the key reason to employ a H1B instead of a local. They cannot leave. And with a bit of luck it will take decades to process there application for permanent residency. So you've got 'em.

If someone comes in on a H1B, they should be free to move to any other employer, maybe having to compensate their first employer for legal costs if it is within 1 year. Then that advantage disappears.

Incoming NBN boss inheriting regulation, service headaches


So how many people thought the NBN was significantly BETTER

" only 24 per cent of households and 18 per cent of businesses thought their Internet service was worse post-migration"

Wow. Not just dissatisfied with the transition, dissatisfied with the result.

Many people will be satisfied that it is no worse than what they had before. It used to work fine without the NBN, and after a little trouble in the transition it continues to work fine.

But the big question is, how many people think that the NBN is BETTER than what they had before. And in particular $4,000 better that it cost the government to provide it.

I would like the NBN because I have terrible ADSL. But that is because I am not easy to connect, and so have a very low priority for the NBN.

Winner, Winner, prison dinner: Five years in the clink for NSA leaker


Non Jury Crime???

Since when can someone be convicted of a serious crime without a Jury??

Not in Australia or the UK, I don't think.

I think they need a Bill of Rights in the USA.

Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Runtime installers were built to fail


Why the need for complex installers in the first place.

An install should be little more than an unzip and some very standard, declarative registry / symbolic link settings. Things should find the installed software. The disaster that is COM has a lot to do with it.

Also, why is the C++ run time not just a standard part of windows, given that that is what much of windows is written in.

DEF CON plans to show US election hacking is so easy kids can do it


The elections are supposed to be hacked

Just not by the Russians.

Some of the voting machines even had an explicit screen for "Adjusting" vote tallies if the election official thought they might be wrong.

If you wanted to stop hacking of the computers, you would just get rid of them, and use auditable paper ballots, which are also cheaper.

There is, incidentally absolutely no evidence that the Russians "hacked" the election in any meaningful way. Putting up a few dubious Facebook ads is hardly "hacking" in the normal sense of the word.

I blame Obama. He had the senate and congress and did nothing. He should have known that the Republicans are far, far better at hacking than the democrats. When know you are beaten at a game, change the rules.

Amnesty slaps Google amid crippled censored China search claims


China will ask Google to censor USA as well.

Just like they censored Taiwan off US airline sites.

Once Google starts making money out of China, they will not want to upset the Chinese government. At all.

The censorship of western Google will obviously not be anything like as strong as the Chinese. But searches for Fulong Gong, Taiwan etc. might just not turn up the pages you would expect, at least not in the first few pages of results.

We 'could' send troubled Watchkeeper drones to war, insists UK minister


That is the air force's job.

To bring down aircraft.


The MoD has had some great successes

We only focus on their failures. So let us think about their successes. Hmm. The Spitfire seemed to work pretty well!

Google leaps on the platform formerly known as Firefox with $22m splurge for KaiOS


Vast amounts of JavaScript in 250meg?

Any half decent HTML5 website will use at least 10 meg of source if packages are included. The next generation far more. Sure a small foot print could, in theory, run HTML5. But we need to write all that JavaScript because we can. Now, consider whole Apps written in HTML5.

Up in arms! Arm kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt


Re: It bears repeating: Building a CPU that runs C fast considered harmful.

First issue -- Any C compatible CPU needs to have Byte addressing. This doubles the size of pointers unnecessarily.

Java can actually access 32 Gig of RAM with just 32 bit pointers. Because objects are not byte aligned, and it knows that. Huge saving in memory. And C's pointers into anything kills garbage collection anyway.

A 32 bit Non-C CPU would contain enough address space for virtually any application today, or for the next several decades. Notice how memory requirements have stabilized at about 4 gig for a basic PC? The doubling of the transistor count is purely for C.

If you are going to have huge pointers, then adding tag bits can hugely optimize dynamic type checking. But C does not do that, so they are not available, even though 48 bit address spaces are larger than anyone will use.

The second issue is that it impossible to implement modern, efficient garbage collection in C. A third is that C does not detect integer overflow, which should be standard.

Telstra reveals radical restructure plan


Telstra will kill the NBN

Well, not just Telstra, but mobile data generally. Most people do not need 100mbs, and mobile data cost is falling daily. 5G will be the nails in the coffin.

Sure, some people will remain on the NBN. Maybe 40%. But that will require a huge asset write down for it to be sold.

Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6


NAT makes IPv6 pointless

There are not 2^23 *servers* in the world, and very unlikely to ever be. And the new TLS means that we can even support multiple servers on the same IP.

The world has worked around the IPv4 restriction. Get over it. And NAT ain't going anywhere, even with IPv6.

And a few billion routes is nothing in a modern router. If we don't fill all that memory up with routes it might get filled up with something far worse, like XML.

A hack and a fudge is always better than a kludge.

NBN dragging Telstra down, carrier wants 5G to haul it up again


The NBN was gold for Telstra

They paid through the nose for all that copper and ducting just before it became obsolete. (Not because it stopped working, but because Mobile data replaced the need for it.)

The growth in mobile phones has finished. Everybody already has a phone with lots of data.

4/5G will enable Telstra to move many people from the NBN to Mobile. (Most households do not need terabytes of data.) But then the party will be over. Optus and even Vodafone are clipping at the heals of Telstra -- no easy monopoly for Mobile.

This has happened before -- cars, TVs, plumbing. A huge growth when the technology became available, then a flattening of the demand. Now that people (almost) have all the data they need, this game is out of its growth phase.

I see a long future for Telstra. But not one of spectacular growth.

nbn™ scoreboard: miracle needed to hit FY 18 construction targets


Mobile will kill the NBN

Can already get mobile data for $1/Gig. When that halves again, many if not most houses will simply drop the NBN for mobile. Sure, mobile will never deliver terabytes. But for the average household that just wants a bit of internet TV it should be fine. (More towers means less congestion.)

OTOH, ADSL worked OK for most (but certainly not all) households -- 1.5 megabits is enough for TV once Windows Update is tamed.

That is the design flaw in the NBN. It never made sense.

Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case


Linux is under threat

Linux just copied the Unix APIs. It was AT&T/SCO's intellectual property. If Android fails, *nix will be next. The only reason those APIs are worth anything is because they are a standard interface. (Most of them are pretty poor design.)

Copyrighting APIs is copyrighting interfaces. Bad public policy. But public policy is not what the law is about.

Probe: How IBM ousts older staff, replaces them with young blood


Young programmers are much more productive than older ones

They can write many more lines of code per day.

(Personally, I pride myself in how little code I write each day. On really good days, it is negative.)

Privacy folk raise alarm over schools snooping on kids' online habits


Re: More likely scenario

Beat me to it.

And the internet is not nearly as dangerous as is made out. Even if, heaven forbid, kids say politically incorrect things from time to time. We should expect them to act reasonably. (And thump them when they do not!)

US Army warns of the potential dangers of swarming toy drones on US soldiers


Fixed wing drones

Drones does not necessarily mean slow, weak quadcopters. Small fixed wing devices would be better, faster, smaller, carry a bigger payload further. Say 100km/hr for 50 km. Give them a gun or just explosive.

And yes, the bad guys are thinking about this too. Also things like smart cluster bombs. No motor at all, just glide to target.

A B52 can be shot down. And the bad guys don't have them. But a swarm of drones is a different world.

That said, we already have fire and forget anti tank missiles.

The future is not what it used to be.

Euro Commission gives tech firms an hour to take down terror content


Consult Xi Jinping Thought

He has some excellent ideas about the need control the internet in order to prevent incorrect thinking. And the Chinese are building excellent technology to find, filter and target purveyors of such things.

In this post 9/11 era we simply cannot expect to have the reckless freedoms that we are used to.

Our great leader Mr Trump recently supported Xi in his efforts to become Emperor of China, but why stop there?

This is actually more a push from Health and Safety than anything else. Traditionally we accepted the fact that bad things sometimes happen, a price we pay for freedom. But now we seek total safety, and freedom is a small price to pay.

RIP HPKP: Google abandons public key pinning


How will secruity software proxy TLS?

Many corporate tools work by issuing all their clients with an internal trusted root cert. This then enables them to proxy TLS and do deep inspection of the packets by simply providing their own site based certificates.

Will CT prevent this trick from working? Is that the point? Or does it just mean that the Loggers also need to be proxied?

(The real solution is not to rely on PKI at all, but to use Secure Remote Password. Also kills phishing dead. Passwords should never be sent to servers, just a proof of possession.)

The phone OS that muggers wouldn't touch is back from the dead


Javascript will kill it

The idea of a simple, cheap phone is appealing, and 500K should be more than enough for a phone and a bit of browsing. But sadly, the latter is not what it used to be.

Browsing modern web pages means executing ever larger globs of JavaScript, that, even when "compiled", requires a lot of grunt to operate. And all the features of HTML5 aint going to fit in any small device anyway.

So yes, it would be possible to build a simple, cheap, low powered device. But it won't support modern JavaScript websites. So will be useless in practice.

Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins


Isn't that what Dark Energy is?

That the expansion of the universe is speeding up, rather than slowing down due to gravity. So one would expect measurements based on the background radiation to be slower than measurements based on existing stars?

Fun fact: US Customs slaps eyeglass taxes on optical networking gear


Tax on Glasses?

Is that why medical things are so expensive in the USA. They even put extra taxes on medical eye glasses??

nbn™ scoreboard: our new way to look at Australia's national broadband network


How many premises got Better service?

I.e. how many people did not already have passable broadband with ADSL or cable and would have been prepared to switch if they had not been forced to?

People without any or very poor preexisting broadband. That is what counts.

Australian Senate vote-counting-ware contract a complete shambles


The senate system is an unauditable mess

I have scruitineered for the lower house, and it is clear and simple.

But nobody understands the senate system. It needs to be simple enough that, like the reps, it can be counted by hand in front of scrutineers.

We do not want the US style system here, where we have to trust our democracy to whoever programs and controls the computers.

This is not unimportant.

Two things will survive a nuclear holocaust: Cockroaches and crafty URLs like ғасеьоок.com


I'll not need non-ascii

Since it has become an important tenant of font design to make "I" almost exactly the same shape as "l".

Nebula spotted with more super-sized bodies than a gym on Jan 2nd


Tarantula nebula amazing

It is just visible to the naked eye, easily with binoculars, on a dark night. And yet 160,000 light years away! That is much, much further than the Orion nebula at 1300 light years. The power must be amazing.

It also amazes me that we can see even one light year. That is a long way. If space was even the tiniest bit opaque we would see nothing beyond the solar system.

nbn™tries to ease peak hour crunch with cheaper bundles


12 Mbps for $22 per month.?

Where can I buy these? iinet sells "Basic" for $70/mo. Bit of a surcharge.

Sure there is more to an ISP than the NBN, but it is also the case that the "last mile" (i.e. NBN) is the most expensive?

If 12 Mbs was priced at a substantial discount to 25Mbs, then many if not most people would sign up to it. 12 Mbs is enough to drive 8 ordinary DVD quality televisions provided Windows Update can be tamed. More than enough for most.

(Yes. 1.5mbs per TV. I know, I have a crappy ADSL line and use Gargoyle to throttle the TV to 1.5 mbs and it works fine.)

Opportunity rover survives Martian winter for eighth time


Will Opportunity outlive Curiosity?

When Curiosity's nuclear battery runs out.

Expert gives Congress solution to vote machine cyber-security fears: Keep a paper backup


Re: open votes please! UK Election Official

That story about the UK, if true, is appalling.

In Australia, ballot boxes are only sealed in the pollling both, with scruitineers present to confirm they are empty. And scruitineers are present when the seals are broken to count the votes.

It takes about an hour to manually count the votes at a booth in front of scruitineers.

As to the New York lever machines, I think there were plenty of stories of election officials routing those. They are no better than computers, being an unauditable, black box.

Hardly anyone uses Australia's My Health Record service


Issue is lack of data

Having unified data can be very important when dealing with multiple providers. The current system of faxing data is a mess and lead to errors.

However, all the data collected from GPs etc needs to go there automatically for it to be useful. All GPs have IT systems, just not interconnected (except by fax machines).

There are privacy nuts who have made this very difficult to build. ASIO, the AFP and the NSA already could know everything about you, that is a lost battle. But having unified records is essential.

NEHTA spent a large amount of money designing something that was never going to be built. What was needed was a simple system that works.


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