* Posts by martinusher

577 posts • joined 24 Feb 2015

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Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel

martinusher
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Re: Modern Interface, and other stupid comments

A fine post, Logics. I'd like to add something.....

A lot of development work runs under a customized Eclipse based platform that's supplied by chip vendors. This platform runs a combination of scripts, custom utilities and GNU tools and, being Java based, is largely agnostic of the GUI environment. The tools, being for the most part command line, aren't interested in the GUI environment as well. The real differences are when you switch between Windows and Linux. Since the tools are effectively Linux based, not native Windows applications, they're invariably run using Cygwin. Here the deficiencies of the Windows environment show up in innumerable small ways due to legacy issues with file separators and the like, a really weird user model, hit-and-miss USB implementations, rouge interactions with anti-virus programs and so on. People cope with this because Corporate invariably specifies Windows because the be-all and end-all of their work environment is Office and they're the "decision makers".

I'd suggest that the big mistake Linux distributors have made over the years is imitating Windows. They assume they're going to compete with it, to convert 'Corporate' to using this platform. It isn't going to happen, at least not in the foreseeable future. The Windows desktop is too entrenched, too familiar and functional to be easily taken down. The rest of the system is, not to put too fine a point on it, total crap. Microsoft have kind of acknowledged it by providing a Linux shell capability but with their typical flair for taking the straightforward and making a pig's ear of it the result is less than perfect. Although people swear by virtual machines the best way to marry Corporate's love of Windows with reality is through a X Server on the Windows desktop -- between that and a couple of utilities like WinSCP and Putty that's pretty much all you need. You just need a spare computer and they'll be plenty of those about since Window's greed for resources obsoletes a lot of perfectly good machines.

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Someone's in hot water: Tea party super PAC group 'spilled 500,000+ voters' info' all over web

martinusher
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Probably Irrelevant

Buried in the news recently was an article about a criminal being busted for identity fraud using information from a database managed by (I think) Experian which will disgorge the necessary information on anyone in the US on request. As a private individual you need to spring for the $1500 a year subscription cost -- law enforcement and government subs are free. The company claims it does background checks on all subscriptions but since they're sold to outfits like debt collection agencies that might have less than honest employees this is probably moot.

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Stroppy Google runs rings round Brussels with Android remedy

martinusher
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Re: "If people dont want android they wont buy it"

>Probably, there were more alternatives to Windows back then...

What got MSFT into the crap was setting up their code so it looked for and degraded the operation of potentially competing software. They continued to annoy people with products that only worked properly inside a Microsoft ecosystem (IE6 was the low water mark). They're not the only company that's tried this sort of thing on but they were the most visible. Google, AFAIK, has never done anything like this. Their products are deceptively simple and 'just work', something that takes a surprising amount of effort to achieve. They don't prevent competitors from entering the market, they just set the bar rather high (which IMHO isn't 'anti competitive').

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Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

martinusher
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Let's not go overboard with this.

Unfortunately the conduit for this information appears to be not very technical, we're told vague things about the part that would be worthy of a modern day spy thriller but don't make an awful lot of sense to someone who actually understands these designs. As its been in the boards for a decade or so we have to assume that with its form factor its not going to be anything much more sophisticated than a medium sized EEROM. It could patch code on the fly but that's more theoretical than realistic because there's no guarantee that the code its patching will be stable for an extended period of time.

I'm prepared to dismiss this as disinformation put around by our own intelligence services (who would probably love a capability like this but they really have one already in the form of the Management Engine. I'm also used to seeing Bloomberg being used as a conduit for this sort of information -- we normally think of them as a financial site but for a long time now if you wanted a story about Russia or China planted in the media they seem to be one of the 'go to' publications.

What is particularly worrying about this is that the overall picture I'm getting these days of our technical capability is that we seem to be losing it. I'm seeing more marketing and less technology, stories about wonder weapons, mystery capabilities of real and imagined enemies, all dark paranoia and no real technology. This dovetails rather nicely with my perceptions of industry -- obviously the picture's not all bad but in general there seems to be a dumbing down as skilled people age out and are not replaced (or replaced by people with a very different set of skills). This may end up being the story behind the story; its already old news in the UK but the US....

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AI engines, Arm brains, DSP brawn... Versal is Xilinx's Kitchen Sink Edition FPGA

martinusher
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FPGAs have been around for a very long time

For at least 25 years, and before these we had CPLD and PAL devices.

There have always been complex FPGAs out there - Xilinx used to have a part that had a couple of

PowerPC cores in it, for example -- but for many of us the search isn't for the ultimate box of logic, we look for inexpensive, capable, parts that have good software support. Those Xilinx FPGAs were about $1K each, definitely in the prototype/aerospace budget realm. In real life once the part gets into double digits everyone's looking at it critically. That's because FPGAs are used for products that have small to medium production runs. They allow you to create complex products, products that can have bug fixes and enhancements over the lifespan of the product. since the program image can be managed like any other firmware component.

Like the PowerPC its possible to add other hard subsystems into a FPGA if the demand warrants it. These subsystems can be made a lot more compact and so run a lot faster than the same logic implemented on the FPGA.

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Free for every Reg reader – and everyone else, too: Arm Cortex-M CPUs for Xilinx FPGAs

martinusher
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Re: What are they used for

>Excuse my ignorance, but what can this be used for in the real world?

See my post about servo drive coprocessors. FPGAs are actually really useful for small and medium volume industrial equipment, anything that needs an intelligent subsystem that might have custom peripherals. FPGAs themselves replace most discrete logic; these parts are extremely capable; typically their main design limitation is that you run out of input / output pins.

You can actually run Linux on a FPGA based processor but you don't usually do this because its not an efficient use of logic resources, if you want an actual computer rather than an embeddable processor then you're better off using a processor subsystem SoC like the device used in a Raspberry Pi.

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martinusher
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Does the word "Microblaze" ring a bell?

Xilinx have a soft processor for their FPGA lines, its been around for decades. Its a fairly generic RISC they call "Microblaze". Along with the processor they supply a lot of different peripherals so its possible to build quite a complex system on a FPGA. For example, we use them as communications coprocessors for servo drives -- you can pack a processor, UART(s), network interface (which could be the rather complex Ethercat interface), CAN peripheral, and various bits of RAM (dual port and standard) and still have room for things like encoder interfaces.

Xilinx isn't the only company offering processors. I think everyone does -- I know Altera and Lattice do -- and they offer both the more comprehensive 32 RISC and a simple 8 bit device. Some of these devices can be quite cheap; Lattice's parts in particular are too cheap to bother turning into ASICs unless you're in the toy business or something like that.

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Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub

martinusher
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Re: "a bunch of engineers in some US uni"

That's what you get for being first out the gate.

As it happens, I learned to program and worked fist as a programmer in the UK before transitioning to the US in the early 80s. I don't recall any difference in the keyboards because back then all small computers were coming from the US.

I have used source code from many different countries and you're right that English is by far the most common language used in programming. One set of modules suggested an alternative, though -- C++ with German comments........what a combination!

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Windows 10 passes 700 million, Office Mobile in a coma and Intune, er, cracks time travel

martinusher
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Re: Older Devices

>One reason for the slow Win 10 growth is that it tends to kill older devices when it gets installed.

I've got a not-so-old system that I unwisely 'upgraded' to Win10 when it first came out. I lost some capability and a fair bit of performance (although the startup screens are pretty). I dug out an old Linux system for some support work recently but found it so much faster than the Win10 box that I keep it on standby -- typically by the time I've lost patience with Windows's slow booting and interminable disk waits I've got the Linux system up, opened the browser and found out what's wrong with Win10 *this* time.

Workplaces use Windows because of institutional inertia. Personally, I've given up on it. Its got a better graphics interface than the old Linux box but when it comes to performance Linux wipes the floor with Windows, even when its running on a 15 year old processor with half the memory. Needless to say I won't be buying any more Win10 kit, anything new is likely to be Linux or a Chromebook.

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The ink's not dry on California'a new net neutrality law and the US govt is already suing

martinusher
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The future doesn't need Net Neutrality

There was a recent article about AT&T's plans for the 5G rollout and, in particular, what tariffs they were planning for it. As you can imagine during the early stages of the rollout prices will be relatively high for early adopters and then 'competitive'. However, once the technology matures we're going to see the spectrum sliced and diced in ways that make buying airline (or, in the UK, train) travel seem a walk in the park. Obviously implementing this kind of revenue management requires quite close control of what traffic goes into what tariff bucket so Net Neutrality needs to go. End users -- 'consumers' -- will be told that its all in the pursuit of 'customer choice' and I daresay there will be the inevitable articles about how some bright young things get an amazing deal by deft manipulation of packages (a bit like trying to buy reasonably priced energy in the UK). But for most of us we just prepare to get screwed. As usual.

Personally, as a Californian I welcome Net Neutrality. If Jeff Sessions wants to make the argument that cross border traffic can be sliced and diced, so be it. I prefer my traffic unfiltered.

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The curious sudden rise of free US election 'net security guardians

martinusher
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Political Walled Garden?

As someone who works the elections (the polling places are run by volunteer labor in the US) I can state quite categorically that none of the systems we use are susceptible to hacking. The kit uses ancient technology, lacks network connections and leaves a paper trail. Then there's the magic of statistics that immediately flags anomalies in voting patterns -- that one's difficult to fool.

Which then leaves the issue of hacking political campaigns and all the noise about fake news. Misinformation and conspiracy theories are nothing new in US politics, they've been around since the Revolution and probably before. The best defense against this is a 'well informed electorate'. If we allow our information feeds to be filtered by corporate America, all in our best interests of course, then we're really just substituting one kind of misinformation for another, one that's more pernicious because it has corporate polish and the veneer of respectability.

The lessons of the last few years have been hard but I hope they've been learned. Generic email is about as private as a postcard -- overall, there's no guaranteed privacy on the Internet except that which you provide end to end (and even that is never 100% bulletproof). So mind your manners and your words when communicating because its quite likely that if someone wants to read your mail they will.

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Git it girl! Academy tries to tempt women into coding with free course

martinusher
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Women and Programming isn't a novelty

Women have been programming computers since they were around to be programmed. The problem isn't that women aren't discouraged from programming but rather that they aren't interested -- as a subject its very much a take it leave it proposition, you either like it or can't stand it.

As usual, the problem isn't 'programming' but the perception that there are innumerable well paid 'indoor jobs with no heavy lifting' waiting for anyone who can bang out a few lines of code. Unfortunately, as many who do this course will discover, it takes a good bit of knowledge to design software -- coding is like writing English, its an essential skill but having it doesn't make one an author.

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Trump shouldn't criticise the news media, says Amazon's Jeff Bezos

martinusher
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Its just another form of tax....

Just as the tariffs on Chinese and other products act as sort of stealth sales tax this is just another mechanism to wring money out of anyone that can be extorted to help cover the gaping hole in the Federal budget left by the recent tax cuts.

The USPS makes money off of Amazon. Its legally required to do so in any contract it enters into with its customers. What weighs it down financially is an excessively large burden intended to fund future retirement benefits. This money goes to the Feds (surprised?) who are supposed to hold it in trust and maybe pay interest on it.

This practice of burdening a business with debt -- real or virtual, as in this case -- is common business practice and has been behind the spectacular failure of large retail chains such as Toys 'R Us. Obviously its much better copy to just trot out a few well worn bromides about the demise of brick and mortar stores, the (unfair) competition from Amazon and so on but the reality is that once a Robber Baron or two is let loose on your business -- or government -- then its only a matter of time before it collapses.

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Leeds hospital launches campaign to 'axe the fax'

martinusher
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Re: Easy for internal

>Doctors are not techies. Many can barely use a computer....

Nah....in my world all the doctors' offices, pharmacies, hospitals and what-have-you are linked. Every office has a computer and patient records are updated in real time. (Personnel log into the system using their ID badge, the one that acts as a door key &tc.) X-rays turn up in consulting rooms faster than it takes to limp down the corridor between the departments, prescriptions are ready before you get to the pharmacy -- yes, it really is possible.

This isn't the UK, though, but it could be -- I use a large HMO which is vertically integrated like the NHS. The UK will probably spend a few billions doing their own system, finding out it doesn't work, doing another system and so on rather than borrowing/licensing someone elses' code.)

The real reason why doctors don't use general purpose computers is -- in the US -- called "HIPPA". There's probably an English equivalent. We've come a long way from those halcyon days of the mid-80s where I was given a pile of floppies with database information to test some software -- live patient information (that was the UK). This data's supposed to be confidential.

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martinusher
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Re: Dangerous

Faxes might be old, slow and clunky but combined with an old fashioned POTS system they're at least secure.

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Brit armed forces still don't have enough techies, thunder MPs

martinusher
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@nematoad

>It is true that the alternative i.e. having to handle badly wounded soldiers and recovering bodies would have been infinitely worse.....

We've got a fix for this in the US. Military surgeons can nmot only keep their skills up to date but perform a useful service to society by just working in an urban hospital. Plenty of gunshot and other victims to work on....

Seriously, though, I figure that one reason why there's a recruitment shortfall is there needs to be a reason to join up. For some its an alternative to the dole, others might just like the life. For skilled workers, those who have a choice, then there's the question of how relevant the military is, who it works for and what its being asked to do. Sometimes 'duty' isn't good enough -- for example, a relative of a friend found himself fighting in Syria a few years ago (he was officially posted to Italy)(US army, note.). This wasn't popular among the troops -- our politicians might have grandiose ideas about policy but the boots on the ground known when they're being taken for a ride. The result was that re-enlistment got tricky -- and expensive, since they just kept upping the bonuses until enough people cracked. (But, this definitely isn't a good way to run an army.)

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Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

martinusher
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Don't forget sexist terminology as well

We're all probably familiar with terms like 'male' and 'female' when describing connectors. Such terminology needs to be purged......

I haven't read all the comments but there should be at least one reference to George Orwell in there -- not "1984" specifically but his essays on the use and abuse of language to guide political thought.

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$200bn? Make that $467bn: Trump threatens to balloon proposed bonus China tech tariffs

martinusher
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We've already started referring to this as the Trump Tax

Many people have figured out that these tariffs don't really do much except act as a form of Federal sales tax. They might encourage local manufacturers but often they're used to disguise an inefficient high cost local source (for example, most newsprint comes from Canada but at the insistence of the sole US manufacturer tariffs were put on Canadian newsprint so the local manufacturer could keep its prices high).

The US is a big market but it only represents about 10% of global trade. If we in the US just stopped buying taxed items then its the local distributors and value added manufacturers that will feel the impact. Overseas suppliers will just find alternative markets. (...and since we're interfering with overseas trade thanks to sanctions policies they've got a huge interest in not using dollars).

Still, I suppose its one way to redress the deficit introduced by the tax cuts. You could say that the way that things are going the only import that's not going to be taxed is money.

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Y'know what? VoIP can also be free from pesky regulation – US judges

martinusher
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But at least it worked

> Didn't the USA have something similar with Bell?

A regulated monopoly like the Bell System or the Post Office doesn't necessarily mean that you end up with the cheapest service but you at least get a service that works. In the US a lot of POTS (wired) phone service has been replaced by VoIP service using the same feed as Internet and TV. The quality of phone connections has dropped through the floor as a result -- phone service used to be rock solid reliable, now its hit and miss with indifferent voice quality, broken connections, erratic call forwarding and so on. Domestic services is basically unusable except for telemarketers (and even then they invariably fail to make an usable connection).

The only reason for the breakup of the monopoly is that well connected people saw money being made and wanted a piece -- a big piece. They sold the gullible public on choice, competition, low price and so on -- but what we've ended up with is little choice, poor service and excessive costs.

(This isn't the only industry where deregulation promised consumer benefits but ended up screwing them. You'd have to be pretty naive to think that the outcome would be any different.)

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Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

martinusher
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Re: Only 4GB of RAM ?

>It is a source of mystery to me why the world is still flooded with desperately slow PCs which take forever to boot up or even to launch an Office app, but I don't think RAM size is the limiting factor.

A lot of -most -- software still waits for events using busy/check loops (polling for data). Performance increases are entirely dependent on making the storage device or network as fast as possible, getting access latency to zero rather than designing around it. Add to this a lot of modern software uses system resources like malloc pools as if they're infinite with zero penalty for fragmentation and the inevitable software bloat and its small wonder that the systems take for ever to come up unless you've got a really fast SSD.

Some profligacy with resources is to be expected, they're not only relatively cheap but also its the result of the convenience versus efficiency tradeoff. The perennial problem we have -- and we've had it since the first PCs came out -- is that everything is flung against the stops, turned up to '11', so no matter how good your system is its never good enough.

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‘Very fine people’ rename New York as ‘Jewtropolis’ on Snapchat, Zillow

martinusher
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Re: Hate speech

There are a fair number of Jewish people in New York but its only in a relative handful of smaller communities in New Jersey where there are not only a preponderance of Hasidic Jews but they actively discourage outsiders from setting in their towns (and if you're already there you'd be encouraged to leave).

So while this Jewtopia thing may be tasteless in the extreme (but hardly 'hate speech') there are places in the general area that might fit the description (....although "Non-Hasidic No-Go Area" might be more appropriate).

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Net neutrality haters spam Californians with annoying robocalls

martinusher
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Re: Six of one...

"San Francisco Poilitiicans" is dog-whistlese for "Loony Lefty Types That Are After Your Hard Earned Cash To Give Away To Freaks And Illegals".

Unfortunately a lot of the electorate are what we euphemistically call "Low Information Voters". They respond to dog whistles which is why they're getting calls like this. (The original target was seniors, BTW.)

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Voting machine maker claims vote machine hack-fests a 'green light' for foreign hackers

martinusher
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Which machines, where?

The machines that I work with at our polling places are an optical card reader and a touch screen system. Most votes are recorded by the card reader. Its probably computerized, I'd guess there's a Z80 or similar in there somewhere, but as it lacks an external network connection its going to be difficult to hack. The results cartridge is a memory pack that's about the size of a pack of playing cards with what looks like a three row DB type connector on it.

The touch screen unit obviously started off life as a PC. An early 1990s PC. It runs what looks suspiciously like vxWorks. It doesn't have a network connection. It also has a removable memory pack, a PCMCIA card which if I had a laptop from that era I could probably read.

This kit is pretty old but the overall system is actually pretty bulletproof. Ultimately any interference with a vote tabulator will show up as a statistical blip which will attract the attention of the county voting staff who will then use the paper trail to figure out what happened. (The 'blip' is quite obvious -- I usually work a split precinct, one that deals with the 'L-Z' half of the voter rolls for this are. Our tabulated results match very closely those of the 'A-K' crew.)

When you talk about hacking voting machines you really need to be a bit more specific. You also need to hack the entire system -- statistics being what it is any attempt to game the system (gerrymandering or voter suppression excepted) will show up like a beacon.

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

martinusher
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Re: Not talking about "Mexicans" here

If they were Mexican engineers then they'd have a hard time getting an H1-B visa. They're effectively monopolized by a handful of Indian IT companies that specialize in outsourcing or, more accurately, replacing American workers by lower cost Indian workers. (....and there's a lawsuit about this:-

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/08/16/h-1b-indian-outsourcing-firm-discriminates-against-non-indian-workers-games-u-s-visa-system-lawsuit/ )

The H1-B visa is a mess; instead of it giving people who are needed opportunities to work in the US the system has mostly got rigged and, to add insult to injury, renewal is now a lottery so there's absolutely no job security. (I personally know one person who had to let a worker go because she lost the renewal lottery -- and it wasn't an Indian IT worker, it was an Italian accountant.)

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Fire chief says Verizon throttled department's data in the middle of massive Cali wildfires

martinusher
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Re: What do you expect?

It was 'unlimited' as far as they knew and......

.....the situation was a National Emergency -- a state of emergency was declared at both the state and federal level.

Those of us who have some memory of the Post Office's national phone network in the UK would know about something called a Preference Key. This was a switch that when activated restricted access to the phone network to a selected group of numbers belonging to the emergency services, hospitals, doctors and the like. It was used during an emergency -- fire, flood, air raids, whatever -- to make sure that the network was always available to meet the needs of the public as a whole. I daresay the Bell System had something similar but now we're Strictly Commercial there's probably no better time to try to make an extra buck even if it does cause a bit of a public relations disaster.

This isn't the first time this has happened.

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You want how much?! Israel opts not to renew its Office 365 vows

martinusher
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Its the problem with expensive licenses

Once your annual licensing fee exceed a certain threshold the build/buy equation tips towards 'build', especially if you are an organization like the Government of Israel that has access to a lot of software talent. (...and $20million plus a year buys you quite a lot of talent)

Its the problem with software. It costs a lot to make but very little to replicate.

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

martinusher
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They're too busy....

....running to earth Russian hackers targeting Republican groups to 'influence US elections' to build proper software.

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America's top maker of cop body cameras says facial-recog AI isn't safe

martinusher
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Its the legal implications.

Making a body camera is a trivial exercise these days. Making a system that can collect evidence quality video and audio, manging it through a chain of custody, is a whole different game. These companies sell systems, its how they can justify selling the individual units for silly prices.

They're also aware of the legal implications of getting things wrong. No facial recognition system is going to be 100% perfect so it will make mistakes and those mistakes could cause legal blowback, including a liability issue for the manufacturer. Hence the need to be super-cautious. However, in real life these systems only need to work as well as, or preferably somewhat better than, human recognition to be useful because they're not going to be used instead of humans but as an assistant.

There's a lot more to this technology than just matching a face to a name. If you arrive at Los Angeles airport at the international terminal and you're a US passport holder you'll be processed automatically by a kiosk. Image processing is also being used to identify people who are acting oddly or looking stressed (or rather "more stressed than normal"). This stuff is intrusive, is potentially a civil liberties killer but then its really only ANPR for people and everyone in the UK's been living with ANPR and its consequences for years, haven't they?

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ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

martinusher
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Taught a generation to program.....

....badly.

We're still living with the fallout.

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Greybeard greebos do runner from care home to attend world's largest heavy metal fest Wacken

martinusher
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About this graybeard greebos thing

So what's unusual about a couple of old geezers wanting to go to a heavy metal festival? The genre started about 50 years ago with bands like Deep Purple. That puts many fans into their 70s.

What's particularly horrible about this story is the patronizing attitude of everyone involved. Apparently senior housing -- "the olds folks' home" -- isn't just convenient living for older people, its a sort of council run Death Row where the condemned wait out their days until its their time. There's no question of escape (and as for finding them 'dazed and confused at 3am' I'd be rather surprised or even a bit worried if they weren't -- that's the whole idea behind going to one of those gigs).

This attitude appears everywhere, especially with 'technology'. People in their 60s and 70s include people who pioneered a lot of modern technology but you'd never believe it to read the kind of crap you come across in the media. Even people in their 80s aren't that out of touch; they may be starting to slow down (you do.....just wait....), their formative years (and unfortunately their politics) may be the 1950s but many of them are not in the slightest bit stupid. Or senile.

Anyway, its a timely warning to older people to keep away from these charnel houses and beware of one's children "who know what's best for one".

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Arm reckons its 'any device, any data, any cloud' IoT tech has legs

martinusher
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Re: Nope

Its the 'vast infrastructure' thing that doesn't make any sense to me. I've been connecting 'things' together for most of my working life and I don't see what engineering advantage you'd get from putting everything on a giant network of peer nodes. I'd guess that this is primarily a Marketing driven technology, something that's driven more by the promise of income streams than the solution of everyday problems.

FWIW, I do a 'layered' approach where information in aggregated and refined as it flows towards more intelligent nodes. It evolved because of technical limitations, typically the outlying nodes are pretty dumb and one needs to conserve network bandwidth. I know this tends to contradict the model that says that processing, memory and bandwidth are infinite resources to be used at will but there's this little problem of scaling....

(As an exercise we might want to ponder about how we'd collect detailed network traffic information from widely scattered nodes on the Internet without that network traffic information dominating the traffic statistics.)

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Sitting pretty in IPv4 land? Look, you're gonna have to talk to IPv6 at some stage

martinusher
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IPX???

If you want to host IPX traffic over TCP/IP you just wrap it in a UDP packet.

Compatibility is really just an expression of will and attitude. Its true that IPv4 and IPv6 don't communicate directly but there is an IP version number field at the start of the IP header which identifies which one you're using. This enables the stack to route the traffic to the appropriate IP layer where it will get unwrapped and presented to the same -- note, the *same* -- upper layers.

Life is complex enough without Marketing types spreading thick layers of FUD around. The move to IPv6 has been slow because its clunky, especially if it incorporates source routing fields in the frames. For those of us working with smaller scale localized networks (that use -- Gasp! -- NAT) IPv4 works just fine and has the advantage that our local devices stay local, they can't be addressed by the greater Internet without the say so of the edge router. (....I'm old school, I like my networks, like by protocols, layered.....) So let's just use IPv6 where its appropriate.

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You want to know which is the best smartphone this season? Tbh, it's tricky to tell 'em apart

martinusher
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We have a problem.....

The recent interim report prepared by a Select Committee of the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport had a number of important pieces of information in it but none more the statistics that Facebook has about the same number of users as Christianity adherents, Twitter is trailing a bit with only the same number as Islam and that users check their phones about once every six and a half minutes on average. (Which, given the number of people that don't......heavy stuff....).

There's such a thing as an 'adequate' phone; I bought one recently via Amazon that cost $130 or so that had a decent amount of memory and processing speed plus a usable screen (...and it works quite well as a phone). Its cheap enough to be not a great loss if it gets broken or stolen so its not worth paying insurance and it doesn't need finance.....

Obsessions with phones and social media are killing us (or at least turning us into sheep). (Again, read the report....its important.....). And, as anyone who's lived with an Echo or the Google equivalent will tell you, its also a pretty naff way to interact with a portable interface. (I'm also getting increasingly fed up with younger women who still think they can interact with their phones and drive --- had another one this morning, can't imagine what's so important on their feed that they just have to read their feed *right now*.)

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Prof claims Lyft did a hit-and-run on his ride-sharing tech patent

martinusher
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Re: Also Known as ....

>But with a mobile phone. And with GPS. Just like "with a computer".

A mobile phone is nothing special, its just a radio phone with vastly improved technology compared to the stuff available before about 2000. (Before about 2000 most phones were still analog, even cellphones.) As for GPS, it was available in the late 90s but it wasn't really practical for consumer navigation, it needed to be made a lot more sensitive, a lot more reliable, to use a lot less power and be integrated with a mapping platform.

A lot of these patents should never see the light of day because they're "obvious". The trick, as someone has already pointed out, is in a practical realization of the concept. Unfortunately around this time the USPTO changed its rules to allow anyone to patent practically anything -- you remember those dumb software patents? -- and this would have been one of those sorts.

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martinusher
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Also Known as ....

Dial-a-Ride, the mainstay of senior transport in surburban USA for decades. (The "dial" bit is the giveaway -- its that old so the comms might have been electromechanical....but its still comms....)

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Rights group launches legal challenge over London cops' use of facial recognition tech

martinusher
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You know deep in your heart that the problem is that this stuff might work....

Think of it as ANPR for humans....and you all know what ANPR can be used for...

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I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

martinusher
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Re: eh?

>Why on earth should any of that happen?

I don't expect food and fuel to get scarce but they might get rather more expensive (which for many people is effectively the same thing).

The reason why this might happen is that the supply lines will get constricted as Customs get re-established but without the proper infrastructure to implement those Customs. The government could help out here by declaring the UK a free-trade (customs-free) zone but there would still be a bit of a bottleneck for goods leaving the country.

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Windows 10 IoT Core Services unleashed to public preview

martinusher
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0.30 doesn't sound much....

...until you remember its 'per device' and 'per month'.

The IoT enthusiasts just don't get it. Embedded devices have firmware to mechanize them and they expose external interfaces to monitor and control them. A well crafted -- and tested -- device should be "turn it on and leave it for the rest of its life". You do not want to suffer the performance and compatibility issues that plague user products like PCs. You may have to update the firmware if there is a weakness in an external interface but otherwise the unit needs to be left alone.

But then there's no money in making 'things', its all about 'subscriptions' -- the rentier mindset.

(Also, note that the reason why SCADA products are proving to be so unsafe is that manufacturers insisted on building them on Windows -- a triumph of Marketing over Engineering.)

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People hate hot-desking. Google thinks they’ll love hot-Chromebooking

martinusher
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What's so unusual about this?

A decade or two ago I found myself as an accidental Intel employee for a couple of years. (The company I was working for got bought and it took Intel a couple of years to close it down, hence 'accidental'.) During that time I had to go to Israel for a week to help with testing something. There were a few spare cubes and machines there; I go to one, login with my credentials and everything comes up as if I were back in California. There were a few subtle differences -- printing got sent to a local device and I couldn't directly access my local hard drive but otherwise the experience was seamless. Just as it should be.

I'm a developer so I'm not a great fan of working out the cloud -- too slow -- but Rule #1 is that you never leave critical files on your local machine. Anything could happen. So moving from machine to machine shouldn't be an issue, especially if you are cloud/server based.

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Trump wants to work with Russia on infosec. Security experts: lol no

martinusher
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Re: Tee hee. Trump is to Putin as --

>new Ribentrof/Molotov agreement,

Read some history, pal. You'll find that the Russians spent a lot of time and effort trying to build up an alliance against Nazi Germany but were thwarted at every turn. Their foreign minister resigned, was replaced by Molotov and the Germans, who were very hot to get it done to meet their September deadline, were hot to conclude that a non-aggression pact so they could invade the West without worrying about the Red Army sweeping in from the East. (They need not have worried anyway; as it turned out the Winter Wars between Russian and Finland exposed systemic weaknesses in the Red Army which the German planners were able to exploit.)

But who needs facts when a lifetime of propaganda teaches you everything you need to know.

(It also might be a good idea to quickly look up what the Crimea is and how it relates to the rest of Russia.)

(BTW -- I'm don't work for the Kremlin. I'm American and I doubt they could afford me.)

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Russia's national vulnerability database is a bit like the Soviet Union – sparse and slow

martinusher
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They probably use the American one

These databases are used by everyone so I'd guess that the Russians primary reference is the American database with the Russian one being more of an Appendix.

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What's in a name? For Cambridge Analytica, about a quid apparently

martinusher
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It was a disposable name, anyway

I thought that the whole idea of these companies is that they were like a shell to a mollusk -- once the shell was compromised the creature inside just slunk off and grew a new one. The trick is to find suitable names for the shells, names that don't convey any information and so are easily forgettable.

Now, the real question is what's inside that shell -- mollusk or Dalek?

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Y'know... Publishing tech specs may be fair use, says appeals court

martinusher
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Re: Ok, put it another way...

>Who will ensure these standards are kept current if no one will pay for them?

That's what you've got a "government" for. The purpose of the government is to lay down standards and enforce them. What's supposed to happen is that legislators decide the framework for laws ("we need standards to prevent ships from blowing up harbors") and the appropriate civil service department then organizes the standards, often coordinating with industry groups. Governments use international relations to negotiate treaties which can include determining international standards or reciprocal recognition of standards.

I know its fashionable these days to slag off 'government' and, especially if there's money to be made, to privatize its functions but the reality is that everyone needs it. Just take an everyday example of using and airliner to go from England to, say, the USA. Before ICAO organized all the international treaties and standards every international flight had to be licensed by the appropriate governments. There was no standards for aircraft design and testing, pilot training, flying practice, airport design -- nothing. Getting this organized took a lot of work. Since it does work everyone now takes it for granted ("so what do we need government for? Its just a waste of money...." Sounds familiar?)

What's likely to happen is that the price of legislation is going to be limited to the actual costs of publishing it.

BTW -- I resent the appellation "Freetards". Nothing is free, not even lunch.

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

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

Back in the 70s one of the goals of processor designs would be to build instruction sets that would translate directly from high level language constructs. If you want to see what an advanced 1970s machine architecture looks like then try the ICL 2900 series processors. The problem with these architectures was that the real world mix of instructions tended to be mostly loads and stores with a handful of more specialized instructions so architectures were trending towards the RISC pattern anyway.

As for 'C' being a low level language -- it is. Its what used to be known as a Systems Programming Language, a glorified assembler. Its intended use is to write system components and languages and should never have been used for applications. It ended up as a general purpose language because of the way that mass computing evolved in the 1980. (....and yes, since you're asking, people do have to write assembler type stuff, you need it to start and run the processor(s) and other hardware subsystems.)

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When Google's robots give your business the death sentence – who you gonna call?

martinusher
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Yet another example of social entropy.

We live in an age of technological marvels -- everything is super sophisticated, ultra-capable, feature rich &tc, &tc,

Too bad that in our rush to get better, faster, cheaper and more of everything we seem to have lost sight of 'works'. Like the death of a thousand cuts you can't really cite one single instance of things falling apart but if you look at the big picture -- VoIP phones that are appallingly unreliable compared to the old-fashioned wired phones, cellphones that don't work everywhere, applications that hog inordinate amounts of memory and processor resources and are often reliant on low latency local storage or network responses to work effectively -- the list is endless. This cloud debacle is just another example; it replaces local storage -- a single point of failure -- with a system with numerous points of failure....and there's nobody around to fix it or even monitor it for problems.

It wouldn't hurt to pull back a bit, tell Marketing to take a holiday (or hike) and just focus on getting things to work 100%. Users don't need the latest and greatest, a raft load of new features which are guaranteed to improve productivity (and will probably never use), first and foremost they need the stuff to work. Predictably, reliably, through both natural and man made disasters.

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Microsoft CEO wades into ICE outcry: Cool it, we only do legacy mail

martinusher
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Re: Avoidance

>So you saying there isn't an occasion where these parents don't have a choice...

The fundamental issue is whether you're entering the US at a port of entry or just walking over the border. Walking over the border is against the law.

As for 'parents' the US has similar rules to the UK's -- you have to put the children's welfare first which typically means that you don't detain parents. The practice has been to parole them into the country pending an immigration hearing, which like their counterparts in the UK they often don't turn up for, they just disappear. Its really just another strategy for bypassing the system. Its the same with asylum -- the UK's has been awash with asylum seekers who typically use this device to get into the country, fail their application (because asylum isn't granted "just because you want it") and just disappear. The recent efforts to make life difficult for such people -- the efforts that seemed to hit everyone else except the people they were supposed to be targeting (e.g. Windrush, long term EU residents &tc.) -- doesn't alter the fundamental principle. Its easy to get lost in both the UK and the US which is why they're such an attractive target for informal migrants (neither country has an ID card system).

Anyway, CBP like any other arm of the Federal government has administrative tasks to perform that need the use of a computer.

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Pwned with '4 lines of code': Researchers warn SCADA systems are still hopelessly insecure

martinusher
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Re: SCADA systems running windows

Its worse than you think because a lot of the versions of Windows have been tweaked to include real time extensions. They don't upgrade.

A lot of major control environments are based on Windows. There's a lot of resistance to change and Microsoft works with the manufacturers to keep them happy, if not particularly safe. There's no easy solution except to put the "Mother of All Firewalls" between those systems and the Internet (if they really must go onto the net -- it should only be a VPN, though). A 802,.1x enabled switch will also help by locking any unknown devices off a network (it was originally developed for wired networks although we know it as a useful security addition for wireless).

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What's all the C Plus Fuss? Bjarne Stroustrup warns of dangerous future plans for his C++

martinusher
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Been there.....done that.....

Back in time there was a family of languages called Algol. They're the grandparents of the block structured language, its where you'd first find curly braces and semicolons. A very popular version was the 1960 model, Algol 60, which worked but had a few imperfections. These were fixed for the version Algol 68. It was a superb language with just one slight snag -- it was effectively unimplementable on the machines available at that time. Various implementations were made but most were panned as impure, not worthy or whatever.

C++ is in danger of going down the same rabbit hole -- if it isn't lost already. Its worse for us because at least all Algol sprung on us was a "Revised Report...", a well thought out theoretical document. C++ started off as an incremental improvement to a systems programming language (one that should never have been used to write user applications in), it gained wide currency because it just happened to be a useful shorthand for writing GUI applications in, it got widely taught and so it just morphed and morphed like the terror from some naff 50s sci-fi movie. Common sense, please -- some of us have do deal with the fallout from people who know all about how to write object oriented programs (but wouldn't necessarily know an object if they tripped over one...). This language has caused me so much grief over the years that if I'm in a position to make the decision I'll ban it (embedded programming and poor quality C++ are a particularly noxious combination!).

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Trump's ZTE deal challenged by Senate

martinusher
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Counterproductive

America has been chucking its weight around by trying to control what technology goes where for many decades now. Every time I've come across this its resulted in a loss of business for an American company -- people grudgingly accede to the US government's extra-territorial demands but invariably try to find a way to avoid problems in the future by avoiding American products and technology where possible.

We're now very close to a significant inflection point. Globalization has not only spread manufacturing over the world but also development. There are now relatively few technological choke points where the US government can hold others to ransom, and those are typically not because of technology itself but because of a combination of intellectual property rights and international standards. Just as encryption technology became 'not American' post DES (due primarily to the attempted stranglehold the US attempted to impose on long keyword DES) other technologies are likely to follow suit, if they haven't done so already. The US will continue to be big and powerful but will gradually become a bit of a technological backwater....and there are signs that this is already happening.

Those legislators are fortunately old and so will get replaced soon. While there's no guarantee that we'll get more enlightened representatives in the future (on past form -- doubtful) there's at least a bit of a chance that they won't be so steeped in a 1950's 'merkan mindset that they might at least understand technology. (To give Trump his due on this one -- much as I hate to -- he probably recognizes that killing off ZTE is likely to incite a lot of global blowback -- and it probably won't even kill ZTE because somehow the company will just open up under another name.)(He's a bit of an expert with that sort of thing.)

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New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

martinusher
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Re: Fitting justice.

>Why not give the common person the same rights?

There's just too many of us. There's a statistical probability that any generic face will fit a particular person, alive or dead. Public figures like those you mention are relatively rare so they can get away with effectively copyrighting their personas.

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