* Posts by Bob.

22 posts • joined 1 Sep 2015

World recoils in horror as smartphone maker accused of helping government snoops read encrypted texts, track device whereabouts


Re: Ah, a sunny day at this precise point where I'm standing at this moment

In spite of being very security conscious over the years, blocking and locking down my laptops and phones, OSes and Apps, Somehow my data has leaked. I'm sure everyone in the on-line database world could probably find out my underpant size and preferred type if they wanted. (Medium trunks) and where I buy them (Tesco)

My latest (second-hand) Samsung Galaxy S7 cannot [seemingly] be Rooted (to delete or disable ManufacturerWarez).

I'm not sure I believe that, but if it ain't easy, I'll probably brick it.

Anyway, keeping up with such things takes a lot of time and effort.

I prefer writing innocent rubbish on forums.

Security options, blockers, workarounds only work for a while before being ineffective and countered by the evil ones. I've given up, apart from 'reasonable' precautions.


Current annoyances:

My Facebook Profile pic appears as icon on many sites. I haven't tracked down why.

Phone Upday default news feed is Off, but it still updates and chimes.

I get other bings and bongs at various points in the day too and no idea who is triggering them.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision


Bit more on fingers...

I'm intrigued by operating machines/switches/buttons in high vibration/turbulent or high g-force environments, especially with gloves.

Aircraft/ships/spacecraft (on ascent or re-entry)

I have trouble texting on a train, from my Android phone.

Actually, even from my armchair, and remember, I have slim fingers.


I nearly failed my Electrical and Electronic Eng. degree in the 80s (because I was immature, depressed and got pissed all the time)

I missed half my lectures and practicals in 2nd year, and 80% in 3rd year)

Nevertheless, I got a good (job designing bits of Dealing Room Systems, for the Banks)

We incorporated the early Amber/Orange touchscreens (as used on submarines) to complement normal IBM/PC keyboards.

The software guys had control of that. Fairly simple for them and it worked well.

Except, Dealers get quite upset when they lose substantial money on a Trade.

On numerous occasions, they would smash their screens with the telephone handsets, breaking both.

Prob $2000 damage each time. We stopped using the touchscreens.

The Dealers were a pain anyway. "We want Porsche screen savers". They were Gods, Masters of the Universe, cos' they made millions.

In spite of my crappy degree, I did actually have a brain and taught myself good technical design skills and good engineering and safety practice. I did some [simple] software too.

No Google, but there were plenty of Datasheets, with example circuits and firmware/software books.

In short, I found I was a pretty good engineer after all.

I played What-Ifs all the time and noted that coding take lots of Error Handling and be easy to use, as well as 'pretty'

(To this day, Non-intuitive, Context Sensitive Menus and Options irk me)

I tried to make everything as robust and fail-safe as possible, with redundant options.

Of course, I have also made lots of mistakes, but overall I'm happy with my MTBC (Mean Time Between Cockups)

Finger Troubles...

My first semi biggie was just designing a 96 way patch panel for coax cables in a 19" cabinet. (Several boards needed in each)

Really, I should have insisted on 64 way, space was a bit tight and my manager insisted that more PCBs and cabinet space (or even cabinets) was unacceptable.

But it was fine. Until 6 weeks later when the Installation engineers tried to install the first of several hundred boards (rushed into production from my couple of perfect prototypes).

I have slim fingers. Many of the field guys had sausage fingers. They couldn't get their fingers into the panel bayonet connectors.

Big oops. I'd done well on my other [complex] board designs and I'd expensively messed up on a bloody patch panel.

Fortunately, all was well. The Install/Maintenance engineers designed themselves a special low-cost tool to plug and unplug the cables.

Over my career I've come across engineers from genius to shockingly bad (and Managers/Directors).

Mistakes are human. Multiple mistakes (often the same ones) are unforgiveable.

Sorry this is a bit TLDR


Re: I can't beieive I'm the first...

It's called "XP", isn't it?

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


We hardware engineers are always forgotten. Less money, less kudos and stature but we don't feck around.

Working on Dealing Room Systems (with our custom designed PCBs), many years ago, we had one board that would intermittently and infrequently crash.

Share prices/Currency/Commodity info would freeze on one of the Dealer's screens.

This peeved them somewhat ($ millions trades at stake).

Generally a dealer would have 4 screens and some hundreds of dealers per room. This board was used on each screen.

So 1200 boards per Room, for a 300 Dealer Room.

Thee was a Hard Reset switch on the board, but it required the sysadmin or on-site engineer to wander into the Machine Room (after an irate call from the Dealer) and find Cabinet x, Rack y and Board slot z. Off/On, Fixed. But that took too long.

Our software engineers spent weeks trying to track down the problem and gave up.

When they came to us, we found quickly and easily that we could put a simple hardware Watchdog Timer on the board.

If it wasn't reset every 5 seconds, the board was rebooted.

It worked well and no further complaints.

Obviously for planes, the logic might be a bit more complicated.

If not reset for 100'something hours and stationary on the ground then reboot.

Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink



What is this 40-60C nonsense?

It ain't too hot till it gets to 90C+, with random shutdowns, or sets fire to the curtains.

Tesla’s Autopilot losing track of devs crashing out of 'leccy car maker


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

This self-driving technology has been very, very successful. It's amazing, in fact.

A large workforce is employed in good jobs and the owner is fabulously rich.

The fact that the product may never work and the Emperor has no Clothes is neither here nor there.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update thwarted by obscure tech known as 'external storage'


For non-Advanced Users, the solution is easy. Buy new hardware and software. Get thee to the nearest Computer Store.

To become an Advanced User, learn how to use Google and make full backups (System Images), Iso Boot Discs and USBs.

99% won't and that suits the manufacturers and vendors just fine.

Microsoft debuts Bosque – a new programming language with no loops, inspired by TypeScript


Re: newspeak for software

Don't forget https://www.google.com/search?q=airbus+paris+crash

All automated systems should have a big Red Button to turn them off.


Bad programmers and those who don't implement error handling and commenting and documenting their code have always been the real problem.

Nothing wrong with Loops.


So you've 'seen' the black hole. Now for the interesting bit – how all that raw data was stored


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

Turing got it right [near enough] in the 40s, when he pre-supposed Moore's law and forecast Gigabit memories/storage by the end of the century.

Tape and HDDs have their quirks and amusing stories.

They first did amazing things with paper tape loops and magnetic ferrite core arrays.

And the Manchester William's Tube CRT phosphor dot thing. What was all that about?

I remember seeing an IBM 5 platter[?} removable 5MB 'cassette' at school. Our teacher brought it in from a SysAdmin friend to show us.

Tapes suffer 'Print Through' and stretching and Wow and Flutter.

Ever seen a fingerprint or speck of dust on a hard drive platter?

Probably only after the head has crashed to the surface. They don't like those, which is why they are sealed.

I remember early reports of HDDs popping their seals in unpressurised aircraft holds. Dunno if true.

The technology doesn't really matter in the end. It will always evolve.

Backup, backup, backup. Multiple copies in multiple places and the data should survive. At least for a while.

Whether you can find it in 10 years time is another matter.

Buffer overflow flaw in British Airways in-flight entertainment systems will affect other airlines, but why try it in the air?


Re: So, uhhhmm, why should I care?

Is it the one mext to the Flight Control reboot button?


Re: Entertainment system pen testing

If you fancy diembarking over the Atlantic on the return leg.

Or maybe you can make Goose Bay and hire a car for the rest.


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

Soon to be grounded no doubt, since Boeing can't write bug free, tested code either.

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads


Re: i'm sorry in advance



I'm so glad my kids have now matured into sensible adults and see 'Apple Inc.™' for the cult that it is.

(Apologies for swearing)

The can now concentrate on the real world. Paying exorbitant rent and saving up for their first property purchase, sometime in their 40s.

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network


Aiding Resilience

Additional BBCPs (Battery-backed Communication Points) could be the ideal answer.

It's a bit of a mouthful. Some people know them as 'Telephone Boxes'

Dell forgot to renew PC data recovery domain, so a squatter bought it


40 years of Home and SME computing (Commodore Pet and Apple II) and 'we', most of the General Public and hardware manufacturers still can't get Backup 101 straight in our brains.

The Public are excused, to some extent, but Hardware manufacturers are not.

Fortunately, our saviours started Software companies dedicated to solving the problem.

Macrium, Easeus, Acronis etc

Find them. Learn them. Use them.

MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why


Re: planet is surrounded by spy satellites

Are you sure it wasn't a whale?

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+


Re: re GCHQ and Patches

Many have been so bedazzled by the brilliance of Microsoft's latest all singing and dancing Operating Systems that they enter a Trance-like State where backups are no longer required.

Seek help. Macrium is your friend.

UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late


Can you still get the EPROMs for these Chinooks?

And then you have to remember which dusty cupboard the Programmer was consigned to.

Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

I also feel behooven to point out that only cattle low.

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